Open letter to IGP on mobile phone restriction in police stations

Open letter to IGP on mobile phone restriction in police stations

Dear Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador, 

Congratulations for being appointed to the top position of the Police Force. I would like to bring to your attention the issue of barring mobile phones into police station. I think you have to review this practice based on logic and good sense.

Firstly, I need to know if the practice of barring mobile phones into police station is a directive? If it is, let me explain how inconvenient and irrational that practice is.

Some time back, I had a case of a frantic wife complaining of a domestic violence case. I advised and assured her to lodge a police report and contact me if there is anything urgent. She didn’t call me after entering the police station and I was unable to contact her. I felt quite troubled thinking if anything happened to her. Later when I finally got her after a few hours, I was told that the Kajang police took her phone at the front gate as this is the new regulation. I checked with the police and was told that is the new directive. The victim in this case, told me her trauma because she could not contact or speak to anyone during her hours in the police station. One can understand her predicament.

I understand the need to silence the phone at certain places or the police confiscating a phone from someone who is arrested after filling up the respective forms. I also understand the police can in certain places put up some rules on the use of the mobile phones. But I am totally shocked against this practice of not allowing mobile phones at all. I hope as a new IGP, who seems to believe in transparency and good governance, I hope this matter can be reviewed.

I also remember my own experience being asked to record my 112 statement in Dang Wangi police station. Not only my phone was taken at the front gate, but so was the phone of the lawyer accompanying me. Isn’t this ridiculous? Most of the times, the police may ask us for some people’s contact or some evidence and most evidence are kept in the phone. Some people also use their phones as a notepad. Most importantly, I think most of us will feel much safer with our phones with us since it maybe our communication with the outside world. Having a phone at hand also is to safeguard ourselves and a tool for self protection in case if something untoward is to happen.

I stand to be corrected here. I believe the practice of barring phones at police station was because of some images of police brutality inside the police premises may have gone viral; if this is the reason, then the practice of barring the phone is just an attempt to cover-up or not allowing the public to highlight misuse or highhanded methods by the police.

In today’s world, a mobile phone is very crucial and depriving people access to their mobile phones, especially in the police station is really putting people in further state of anxiety. Most people go to the police station because they have a complaint or distressed because of an incident. By further not allowing them access to the mobile phones which maybe their only communication to their loved ones or even their lawyers, may not be the best of practices.

Looking forward for a review of this ridiculous practice.

S.Arutchelvan
PSM Central Committee Member

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online.

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