Frequent news of deaths in custody is damaging police image, says Selangor MCPF

KUALA LUMPUR: Frequent news of deaths in police custody threatens the image of the police, says the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation Selangor (MCPF).

Its Vice President Datuk Seri A. Thaiveegan (photo) said that deaths from imprisonment require close scrutiny not only because they may be due to alleged torture, abuse, negligence or inadequate medical care, but also because they cause great emotional and psychological trauma to the grieving family.

“This also calls into question the image and professionalism of the arrest or detention authorities.

“Arrests and detentions to facilitate investigations should in no way increase a person’s chances of dying. And yet we hear more and more cases of imprisonment. One, too many,” he said in a statement on Saturday (12 June).

However, Tyvigan said the deaths in custody could also be due to natural causes, illness, violence, suicide, or as a result of changes in human biochemistry due to shock, anxiety and psychological trauma that should be arrested and detained.

“But the question here is whether such sudden deaths can be prevented. Is it possible that there is some negligence on the part of the detainees or other injuries that could worsen the level of vulnerability?” he said.

He added that it is now more important to review the attitude of enforcement officers in determining the value of human life in relation to someone’s criminal record.

Taiweegan, who is also a former Penang police chief, said it was best to maintain best practices in the rule of law and due diligence, among others, including video surveillance, which can monitor both suspects and the staff handling the suspect.

“Given the seriously suspicious situation, such video surveillance recordings can be useful to utter thousands of words to unlock the truth and will certainly be useful to dispel all unfounded allegations and criticisms.

“In any case, despite all the precautions and professionalism, death in custody can happen to everyone’s horror.

“To deal with such a situation, there are and always have been adequate laws and a standard operating procedure (SOP) with an effective mechanism in place to effectively investigate police deaths,” he added.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CPC) and the Penal Code contain provisions on how to unlock the truth behind the death in custody with police or another executive agency, Taiwegan said.

Thaiveegan said the CPC said the police officer in charge of the station should open a sudden death report (SDR) after receiving information about the death of a detainee under his jurisdiction.

The police officer must gather all the facts leading to the death before submitting his findings to the magistrate’s office through the deputy prosecutor’s office, where it will be decided whether to initiate an investigation, he said.

“What is crucial is that the police officer conducting the probe, especially when there is a suspicion of rough play, must have the conviction and dedication to reveal the truth, to investigate thoroughly, fairly and fearlessly, regardless of who may be responsible. or related to death, “he stressed.

Taiweigan said the pillar in these cases for the investigation and investigation of the SPT is the investigator, who is also a magistrate.

It is not wrong to say that the ultimate duty of the coroner is to “unlock the truth.” The police, the medical officer (pathologist), the chemist, the forensic officer, and all others who are believed to contribute to the evidence and investigation are only assists the coroner in unraveling the web of suspicion of sudden death.

“The police are undoubtedly responsible for mitigating rumors and suspicions of such deaths,” he said.

Thaiveegan said a police officer who makes an arrest and decides to detain a suspect should also use his experience from the observatory to determine whether a person’s health or behavior is to notice signs of ill health, especially when it involves the elderly. , sick and serious addicts before locking them up for further investigation.

“The detainee must be referred immediately to a doctor if he shows signs of ill health. This is a double confirmation that the interests of both the detainee and the guardian are protected,” he said.

According to claims that Indians have led to the highest number of deaths in the police, Tyvigan said this is a misconception.

“There are deaths involving all races. In all circumstances, all parties must be rational.

“When such a death occurs, compassion and human decency must be directed to the grieving family. They must be assured that a thorough investigation will be carried out and that no stones will be left without stones.

“Corrective action must be swift and comprehensive in order to minimize any possibility of suspected non-compliance.

“Herculean task is to deal with the psychology and trauma of the grieving family, but the police must provide confidence and confidence to comfort them from their doubts, fears and suspicions about the death of prisoners,” he said.