IGP: Bigger K9 unit, more tasers, and better training to handle autistic suspects on Bukit Aman’s cards

Thasha Jayamanogaran And G. Prakash
Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador answers questions during an interview with Malay Mail at his office in Bukit Aman Kuala Lumpur July 17, 2019. — Pictures by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Federal police are currently engaged in an exercise to relook some outdated standard operating procedures (SOP) involving their daily operations. 

Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said it is time for some of the SOPs to be revised, after the modus operandi utilised in several recent cases caused public outrage.

Abdul Hamid said the arrest of an autistic man to facilitate investigation into a molest case in September last year was a fine example that some police SOPs needed to be changed. 

“The clearest example I can remember is the case of the autistic suspect’s arrest. While we acted in accordance with the law, we realised that the SOP was not clear when it came to arresting someone with autism. 

“So now we have formulated a new SOP and have passed it down to all district police headquarters and also police stations especially the front runners. 

“Now police can follow this new SOP when it comes to arresting an autistic person or even a person who is running amok, this way we can avoid any unnecessary inhumane treatment,” he told Malay Mail during a special interview held at his office in Bukit Aman recently. 

He said while revising the SOPs, police had taken into consideration suggestions and advice from medical experts as they are the right people to seek guidance from as they know the medical condition of a person with autism and how to handle them. 

Abdul Hamid said police had also looked at the SOPs used by authorities in other countries to ensure autistic suspects receive the appropriate treatment.

During the incident in September last year, the public had criticised police treatment of Ahmad Ziqri Morshidi, 22, an autistic man who was arrested for allegedly molesting a woman in Subang Jaya.

Ziqri’s arrest made headlines after a video of him being handcuffed, in spite of his disability, went viral.

Abdul Hamid said there have also been instances previously when police had to deal with a suspect who has gone berserk and due to the nature of the case police have been accused of being inhumane. 

“So another SOP that we are relooking into is the use of taser gun. When dealing with amok cases in the past police were only equipped with baton and gas canisters, and we have no choice but to use it to neutralise the suspect. 

“As you know the force has been equipped with taser guns, I want to see the tasers being used widely instead of brute force or guns to break them down. We can use taser guns to apprehend them instead of using a real gun which I hope to avoid. 

“I have been made to understand that the personnel are equipped with taser guns but they are not very clear on the SOPs, so we are relooking into it and want to encourage them to use it in suitable situations as we want to avoid bloodshed and avoid using brute force,” he said. 

Abdul Hamid said another SOP the federal police are looking into is the deployment of the police canine unit, or K9.

“Lately I have observed that the K9 unit has not been utilised, those days we can see that during operations by the criminal investigations department, the K9 unit was always on the ground helping to hunt down suspects or used during a search and rescue operations. This is a very powerful means to assist police investigations. 

Abdul Hamid said another SOP the federal police are looking into is the deployment of the police canine unit, or K9.

“So I want to relook into it, I was recently told that the dogs in the K9 unit are old and need reinforcement,” he said. 

Abdul Hamid said another reason why police are reviewing such SOPs was that he does not want the police force to be seen as wasting government’s resources. 

“I want to ensure that whatever facilities and equipment provided by the government is fully utilised by us. 

“I don’t want to be the type of person who is going to ask for this and that from the government just for a ‘show’, I’m going to be very prudent on this to be fair to the government,” he said. 

The top cop said he will be into his third month as the Inspector-General of Police come August 1, a day where the annual Police Commissioner and Chief Police Officers conference will take place.

“For me, it will be my first conference, where it will give me a chance to speak directly to the commanders on the ground. 

“This is an important forum for me as I could lay down all the things I have said in the past and present which has been compiled by the IGP secretariat team.

“It will be a two-day discussion and I’m sure new things will come out of that conference,” he said. 

Abdul Hamid officially took over today as Inspector-General of Police in a handing-over ceremony officiated by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on May 3. 

Hamid will serve as the nation’s top cop on a two-year contract until May 3, 2021, succeeding Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun who had retired. 

Hamid went into early retirement in 2015 but was recalled by leaders of the Pakatan Harapan government in May last year and appointed as Special Branch director.

Hamid, the former deputy head of the Special Branch, was known to have spoken up against the previous government’s alleged involvement in certain scandals.

Related Articles IGP to hold senior officers accountable when subordinates break the law 'No holiday, just work': IGP vows to voluntarily step down if mission fails MCMC assists police in forensic probe of child pornographic video in N. Sembilan