AsiaViews, Edition: 32/VII/November2010
THE way in which National Police Chief Timur Pradopo got his job is seen by many to be quite shocking. When he was still Police Chief of Greater Jakarta, on the morning of October 4 this year, Timur suddenly was promoted, an extra star and a new position as Chairman of the Security Maintenance Agency. By evening, however, National Police Chief, General Bambang Hendarso Danuri had submitted his name to the House of Representatives (DPR) as the sole candidate to replace him.
The meteoric rise of Timur raises many questions, particularly since Bambang Hendarso had previously submitted to the President two different candidates to replace him: Imam Sudjarwo and Nanan Soekarna.
Timur is now trying to erase any doubts on how he got to his current position. “I think my appointment went through the right procedures,” he explained, “I am willing to work with everyone.”
His past record does not seem to be extraordinarily impressive. He was West Jakarta Police Chief when the Trisakti University tragedy took place, killing four students. His recent decision to befriend a group which often resorts to violence is seen as counterproductive, particularly since the police slogan is to establish stability and order for the public.
On Sunday two weeks ago, Timur met with Tempo reporters Nugroho Dewanto, Yandi M. Rofiyandi, Istiqomatul Hayati, Akbat Tri Kurniawan and photographer Jacky Rachmansyah at his official residence in Kebayoran, South Jakarta. Accompanied by the Greater Jakarta Police public relations chief, Senior Commissioner Boy Rafli Amar and his communications consultant, Aqua Dwipayana, Timur responded openly to questions. Excerpts:
Every new police chief usually introduces something innovative at the beginning of his term.
Today is the era of transparency and we must be able to account for all our actions. The fit-and-proper test is one part of that transparency. By that process, I think everyone should be able to manage a police chief. I am hoping that the mandate I carry can benefit the people. That is important, not innovations.
So, you don’t see the need for any breakthroughs?
The word ‘breakthrough’ is inappropriate. I have tried my best so that the program can be participated by the people. I have declared the need for revitalization, or building anew. We maximize tasks which have not been made to good use and we develop competence, so that each result can be appreciated by the people.
What will be your priorities as the new police chief?
We have 10 priority programs, among them cases that have become the public’s concern. We will study and clarify them. All those programs are part of the 100-day program and on till the end of my term, which will be in 2013.
Is the most important problem found in the police investigation section?
Today, almost 80 percent of complaints against the police is the handling of cases by the investigation section. I think we need to revitalize this section from its human resources, budget, competency, facilities and infrastructure. For example, the first line supervisor should be an officer. Right now, only 50 percent of them are officers. That is why we need to accelerate cadets who are ready to become officers. That is the part of upgrading human resources and their competence.
But aren't the police also recruiting among university graduates?
The sources of our officer recruitments are the academy, the universities and non-commissioned officers. The number of university graduates is very small.
Is this because the jobs have not been properly publicized or is it just a lack of interest?
It’s not for lack of interest, but the capacity of the state to provide the necessary training is very limited. The Police Academy only produces 300 graduates a year. We have less than 100 university graduates among our new recruits. That is why we must start training more cadets.
We heard that when an assessment was conducted on investigation officers, 65 percent were found to be below standard.
That assessment did not involve the entire competence, because all of them met the criteria. This did not look at functions but on the management of vital police stations and police precincts. We will also be expanding to cover chiefs of sectors. The assessment must look at tendencies which can lead to improvement. So please distinguish between competence and assessment.
Aside from putting the investigative sections in order, what else do you plan to do to push reforms within the police bureaucracy?
The essence of bureaucratic reforms is being proactive and to provide the best service. One way to achieve this is to raise competence, management and evaluation. The management of services must be clean and free of corruption, collusion and nepotism. We are informing the public about our programs and how reforms need to be managed. So, we will follow-up on every public complaint.
What is the follow-up on the case of police fat bank accounts?
This issue has been explained by the previous Police Chief, Bambang Hendarso Danuri. I will follow up on it. If we discover irregularities, God Willing, it will be firmly dealt with. We must speak about going forward. We will follow the procedures of and refer to the Financial Transactions Reporting & Analysis Center (PPATK) criteria. The laws on this are quite secretive. Fat bank accounts or whatever they are called will be firmly dealt according to the supremacy of the law.
Shouldn’t the investigation of officers include their lifestyles or their luxurious homes?
The public will be able to follow and to take part in the process. We will continue to hold on to the policy of innocence before found guilty. It could be that the officer concerned comes from a rich family or he has a business that we don’t know about. That is their right. We will take in all public complaints and investigate them. God Willing, everything will be transparent.
What are the regulations on families of police officers owning businesses?
So far, there is no prohibition on that. The important thing is compliance [to regulations] and making sense out of things even if the problem is complicated. But please understand that the police’s standard of living is very low. The lowest rank police officer gets Rp2.2 million a month for doing complex and heavy work. If we are honest with our ourselves, we must admit that has an impact on how to carry out their duties. Hopefully, with better conditions, no violations will be committed.
The police image has received a big boost through its special unit, Densus 88, which has nabbed terrorists.
I created that program to upgrade the quality of managing terrorism. Until then, the emphasis on terrorism had been on law enforcement, yet it’s not just that. So, what is only reported is their arrest. But the handling of terrorism involves a holistic approach. The public has been informed about prevention measures through our cooperation with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), regional administrations, religious leaders and community leaders. We conduct de-radicalization activities by collaborating with the National Agency for the Control of Terrorism (BNPT), the military (TNI) and work on intelligence information obtained.
Yet some people still glorify the terrorists, like when some of them who died were buried. Has police collaboration with religious leaders failed?
That is an ideological matter and needs time to resolve. We must not lose hope and give in. We continue to make people aware, warning them [about the dangers] and asking them to join us [in our fight against terrorism]. The way to do that is to embrace them, not isolate them.
Recently, one terrorist was found to be instructing terror acts from inside a prison cell.
I will ask the public to evaluate the regulations on terrorism. That case and giving jailed terrorists a remission is not the prerogative of the police, but we will certainly evaluate and coordinate cases with other relevant parties.
There are also questions on why the police always shoot dead terrorist suspects.
Implementing special laws when fighting terrorists involves high risk. What normal person would want to do something like that? But we must face these situations and work on them.
What will you do to eliminate illegal logging or deforestation?
One of our 100-day program is to expose and act against illegal logging cases. This process is ongoing and hopefully it will succeed. We will be transparent. If a law has been violated, we will process the case. Each step of illegal logging will be open to public scrutiny.
What happens now with the police restructuring program initiated by your predecessor?
The context of restructuring is to improve and expand services to the lowest police units, so that these units can be stronger and gain more personnel. Certainly, we will not be able to do this in one or three years, but it will go on.
How is the investigative work divided between headquarters and regional police stations?
Restructuring also reinforces the major function, for example, of the investigative units. Because it impacts on services to the public, the problem faced by the investigative units in the provinces, well, should be handled by those units themselves. Headquarters will only conduct investigation on transnational cases, and those which involve two regional police stations, or which have concerned the public.
What will you do to erase the ‘tradition’ of outside intervention in assigning police personnel?
We will give the regional police chiefs full authority to appoint officers from their midst. The position of inspector, police adjunct commissioner, adjunct senior commissioner, depends on them.
So, there will no longer be outside ‘entrustment’ of particular officers?
Headquarters will still have control to determine whether the selected officers have the competency or not. We synergize our tasks so we can monitor the different tours of areas.
Why does it seem there is tension between the police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), when the two should be cooperating?
Before the restructuring, civil government employees doing investigative work would be placed under the authority of the deputy chief of operations. Today they come under the jurisdiction of the Crime Investigation Unit. This means, from the perspective of assignment as well as competence, this works well. We have never had problems with the KPK. We work according to existing channels. The KPK also will strengthen their investigation on corruption cases.
You have been reported to be close with the groups FPI and FBR.
Let’s think simply. The police must be close with all groups because it cannot work alone. With groups which have come under the public spotlight because of legal violations, the police must embrace them so they will obey the law. We will explain to them that what they are doing violates the law, so that they can then be processed by the police. That’s my intention, nothing else.
Yet, the impression we get is that the police are allowing these groups to commit violence and anarchic acts.
You can look at the facts: which cases are we not processing like the others? We have arrested many of them. We are talking about individuals who have broken the law. But is the community part of that? When the anniversary celebration of the Forum Betawi Rempug (FBR) in Depok became violent, we arrested people there. Then we summoned the leaders. Enforcing the law alone lacks balance. It would be more efficient if we also make it clear to their leaders [on the laws they violate].
We heard that the approval by acclamation of the new Police Chief by members of the House of Representatives (DPR) was because they hoped some of their cases would be dropped.
God willing, everything went according to regulations. If the police drop a case, there is good reason for it. It has nothing to do with such factors.
There have been questions over your role in the shooting of the Trisakti University students when you were Police Chief of West Jakarta precinct.
I submitted this case when I went through the due diligence process. The police acted within the corridors of the law while honoring human rights principles. I will work fully with the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).
How will you manage your subordinates who have varied backgrounds and who tend to have close tribal links and big egos?
I am the police chief not only for my unit here. I am police chief of all policemen in all of Indonesia. Of course they will have diverse backgrounds. But I remain true to ethics, and so all policies are formed according to what the organization wants, not what I want.
Can you explain why your name appeared at the last minute as the sole candidate for the police chief job?
It’s not my place to explain that. I think that my assignment has been carried out according to procedures. When I am instructed to do a task, I cannot refuse it. I will work with anyone within the police force. How can anyone work alone?
Place & Date of Birth:
Jombang, East Java, January 10, 1956
- Military Academy (Police-1978)
- Police Technical Institute (1989)
Police Leadership School (1996)
- Police Officers School (2001)
- Officer at Police Headquarters, Semarang
- Police Chief, West Jakarta (1997-1999)
- Police Chief, Central Jakarta (1999-2000)
- Police Chief, Bandung, West Java (2000-2001)
- Police Chief, Banten (2005)
- Police Chief, West Java (2009-2010)
- Police Chief, Greater Jakarta (June 22-October 4, 2010)
- Chief, Security Maintenance Agency (October 4, 2010)
- National Police Chief (November 2010-to date)
By: Nugroho Dewanto, Yandi M. Rofiyandi, Istiqomatul
Tempo No. 11/XI/10-16 November 2010 photo: TEMPO/Jacky Rahmansyah