Bribe-riddled police move to reform

(The Jakarta Post) – The country's police chiefs signed a contract Friday in an effort to push for bureaucratic reform within the force, dubbed the most bribe-riddled of all state institutions.

The signing of the “Bureaucratic Reform Performance Contract” followed the launch of the National Police’s reform program, called Quick Wins, which was inaugurated earlier in the day by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The contract was signed by National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Wahyono and Banten Police chief Brig. Gen. Rumiah, the latter two representing provincial police offices across the country.

The contract-signing was intended to smooth the implementation of the Quick Wins program at all levels of police offices.

Bambang said the program consisted of four priorities, including speeding up the police’s response to public complaints, and boosting transparency in criminal investigations and recruitment of new police officers.

Under Quick Wins, the police are also required to make more transparent the application procedures for several documents, including driver's licenses and vehicle ownership papers.
“I know it is not at all easy to implement Quick Wins, but I can say that we are committed to doing it,” Bambang said during the launch of the program.

He said Quick Wins was part of a series in the National Police’s bureaucratic reform policies enacted in 1999, which covers the evaluation of the institution’s work performance, organizational structure reform, remuneration system management and work culture reform.

As part of the Quick Wins program, Bambang said the Jakarta, Banten and West Java police offices would be equipped with a total of 800 minivan mobile service units to increase patrols in areas with high incidences of crime.

He also promised the public would be given access to information about developments in the handling of their reports to police, either through letters or online media.

Speaking at the launch of the program, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said quick responses and transparency were crucial in the improvement of the police’s services to the public.

He warned the police that they were essentially public servants and thus had to “very seriously” improve their services to the public.

“The service has to be good, quick, cheap and accountable. We have to always think of how we can improve our service to the public,” the President said.

While praising the police force for its achievements over the past few years, Yudhoyono pointed out that many improvements were still needed in dealing with several issues, including street crimes, drugs, illegal fishing and intercommunal conflicts.

The police force was dubbed by the business community as the most bribe-riddled institution in Indonesia, according to a survey released last week by Transparency International Indonesia (TII).

The study showed 48 percent of respondents admitted to paying an average of Rp 2.2 million (US$200) to bribe police officers.

The police had also booked first place in TII’s 2007 survey, with a corruption perception index of 4.2.

However, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Abubakar Nataprawira has questioned the methodology used in the survey.