Stick to human values, police told

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: Policemen should not stop being human when they put on their uniform, an international human rights expert said yesterday.

Commonwealth Secretariat human rights head Dr Purna Sen said they should still retain their human qualities.

"Protecting and promoting human rights is not a contradiction of policing. In fact, they are complementary," she said at the opening of a Human Rights Workshop for Asean Police Trainers at the Royal Malaysia Police College in Cheras here yesterday.

Sen said policemen also had a right to do their job well in accordance with international policing standards.

"However, the rights of police officers to do their job properly is absolutely essential and not negotiable," she added.

Sen said it was difficult to find a police force that was not subjected to criticism of its human rights record.

"There have been criticisms of Malaysia's record in policing and too often, some of it is valid. I think it is important that the Malaysian police listen to these criticisms seriously and see if they are valid."

She said problems would arise if criticism was not addressed properly.

"If the criticism cannot be heard and if the police service is immune to it, then a major problem would be brewing," she said.

Sen said police forces should be committed to reforms to adapt to changes in society.

The Human Rights Workshop for Asean Police Trainers, jointly organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Malaysian government, is the first of its kind in the region.

Police trainers from all eight Asean countries, excluding Myanmar and Cambodia, are participating in the five-day course at the Royal Malaysia Police College.

Malaysia has sent 17 police trainers for the course which was opened by Home Ministry deputy secretary-general (security) Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ab Aziz and attended by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar.