Nani Afrida, Jakarta – The Indonesian Military (TNI) has revealed that it has agreed to start a joint training program with the National Police for officers from the two corps as part of efforts to reduce tensions.
"We have met with the police and we have conducted a number of evaluations that led us to the conclusion to hold joint training," Army spokesperson Brig. Gen Wuryanto told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta.
Wuryanto said that officers from both the police and military academies would attend the same classes for two or three months to help foster mutual respect.
Under former president Soeharto's New Order regime, the military academy was responsible for training and education for military and police cadets. Back then, cadets from the police and military undertook four months of joint training before attending separate classes.
"The joint education will be one of the solutions to prevent clashes between military and police personnel. They will get to know each other and after the training they can avoid unnecessary conflict in the field because they know each other," Wuryanto said.
Wuryanto was aware, however, that the plan could spark speculation that the military was trying to control the police. "This is why we have to be careful about implementing the plan, because we don't have such an aim," he said.
Frequent clashes between TNI personnel and police officers have led many to assume that the two have a tense relationship. Many consider that the police became too powerful following its separation from the TNI, leading the TNI to resent the police's growing clout.
A violent clash took place in Batam in September last year when the police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel raided a suspected illegal fuel-storage facility that was allegedly backed by military personnel from the 134 Tuah Sakti infantry battalion.
Four soldiers sustained gunshot wounds during the raid. After the incident, dozens of soldiers from Tuah Sakti rampaged through the Brimob headquarters. The incident, which lasted almost seven hours, left one soldier dead and a local street vendor injured.
Both the military and the police launched separate probes into the event. The TNI imposed disciplinary measures by reassigning 100 soldiers involved in the Batam clash to the eastern part of Indonesia.
Military expert Mufti Makarim said that joint education for the officer candidates might not be effective because most clashes involved lower-ranking soldiers, not officers.
"It won't be a problem for officers to join the training, but it will be not effective as the number of officers is far lower than the lower-ranking soldiers," Mufti said on Thursday.