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Police need more compassion and discernment to rebuild reputation

When such values are lacking or weak, we will surely end up with many more worrying episodes

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We need leaders with compassion and wisdom - REEDING/FLICKR

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The case of the single mother Saroja Devi Krishnan, 46, who was detained in a police cell although she had posted bail of RM500 in a dog-bite case, deserves a serious review.

If not for the magistrate’s wisdom and quick action, God knows what trauma and tragedy would have further rocked the police force.  

Indeed, the police may have all their justifications for putting her in a cell.  They will – and rightly so – defend their action as ‘going by the book’.

But any human-made law or procedural compliance that lacks compassion and discernment hinders the rule of law and the police department’s standard procedures from achieving a sterling reputation for the police force.

As we consider the countless reports of misgivings related to police action or lack of it, what stands out is the absence of compassion and discernment in carrying out police procedures.

Occasionally, we get to read of a decent police officer doing some impressive public relations repair work to showcase the caring souls in the unit. But that is not enough.

It is time for the police force to review and reappraise its operatives. As a guardian of security, peace and safety, the police must harness the power of compassion and humane discernment in upholding the sacrosanct rule of law and ensuring its standard procedures are meaningful.

When virtue, compassion and discernment are lacking or weak, we will surely end up with many more instances like this dog-bite case that will further erode the reputation of the police force.

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Ban Cheng Tan
Ban Cheng Tan
26 Sep 2021 1.47am

JD Lovrenciear, a good person may join the police force but, over time, I repeat, over time, s/he tends to turn callous – especially when s/he gathers sufficient experience to accept the “us” versus “them” attitude reflected time and again in his/her years of experience.

I am no clinical psychiatrist, but a concept called “role differentiation” was found to be useful after the mid or late 1980s for even the best police officers and those in the “people profession” such as lawyers, police officers, prison officers, customs officers, etc. They must be reminded of this concept after any ugly encounter with the clients, criminals, their wards, etc. so that they maintain the right attitude when dealing with this class of people.

Just sharin’.

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