Sunday August 26, 2007
Shake-up in police force begins
By LOURDES CHARLES
KUALA LUMPUR: A massive transfer and restructuring exercise involving police personnel of all ranks is under way and Miri is believed to be the first to have a shake-up following allegations that senior officers were involved with crime lords and gangster groups.
Questioning has started and statements have been recorded from police officers.
Several senior police officers who have served for many years in Miri and some who had been transferred out recently were questioned by a team of investigators from a special unit set up by the Bukit Aman police headquarters.
Sources told The Star yesterday that quite a number of senior and long-serving cops here, particularly from the Miri Crime Investigations Department, have been transferred out.
It is learnt that at least 10 senior officers and veteran CID personnel in Miri have been brought to a neutral location for questioning over the past 24 hours by the team.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said a special task force was in the midst of conducting the investigations and transfers of those concerned.
The nationwide exercise includes investigating alleged involvement of officers and personnel with syndicates and gangsters.
The move is to ensure we place officers with integrity in the right places and to instil public confidence. It must not be misconstrued as punishment or negative in any way, Musa told The Star.
He said currently his officers were in Sarawak to oversee the restructuring and transfers of officers in Sibu as well as other districts in the state.
It is learnt that several other places in Sarawak, including Sibu and Bintulu, will also undergo similar overhaul of the police machinery, particularly the CID.
The Bukit Aman team is led by a senior officer from the Bukit Aman disciplinary department, which reports directly to Musa.
Sources said the team is working independently in Sarawak, carrying out probes into the internal affairs of the police units in the states divisions, without going through the state police.
There has been talk by certain quarters that the officers implicated were linked to several prominent crime lords and local gangster groups.
Some of them have already been arrested and taken to the capital.
These officers names came up during a probe launched by Bukit Aman into the gangsterism issue in the state earlier this year. Several of these cops who have been transferred out of Miri have been directed to go back to Miri to meet the Bukit Aman team, said a source.
Sources also said that this internal probe may prove to be a long and difficult one.
Allegations of cops being linked with gangsters and crime lords may be the work of crime lords who are out to take revenge or smear the image of these cops.
Just because they are being probed does not mean they are guilty. This Bukit Aman team needs to establish the truth, said a high-ranking police officer in the state.
Musa said transfers, promotions and re-designations were part and parcel of policing.