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Indonesia: The deadly cost of poor policing

International Crisis Group Media Release - February 16, 2012

Jakarta/Brussels Despite years of investment in community policing, the Indonesian police remain deeply distrusted by the people they are supposed to serve.

Indonesia: The Deadly Cost of Poor Policing, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, says that the high frequency of angry crowd attacks on police and police stations is a direct response to abuse, real and perceived, by police and the absence of any functioning grievance mechanism.

"The cure is not more pilot projects in community policing but systematic reform in recruitment and training, use of force and handling of firearms, and above all, accountability", says Achmad Sukarsono, Crisis Group's South East Asia Analyst. "Police are supposed to be helping prevent conflict, but too often they are contributing to its outbreak".

The report looks at how the concept of community policing evolved in democratic Indonesia and the obstacles it faces from police institutional culture, incentive structure and corruption. Out of at least 40 attacks on police since August 2010, the report examines three cases:

"These incidents are emblematic of a much broader problem; the Indonesian government should stop treating them as isolated incidents", says Jim Della-Giacoma, Crisis Group's South East Asia Project Director. "They represent a systemic failure that will encourage further deadly violence unless the underlying causes of community hostility are addressed".

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