Improvements needed to ‘cure’ crimes at police force: Brunei Sultan

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah at the RBPF officer’s mess on Dec 6. - INFOFOTO

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network): All aspects of leadership, management, administration, training and logistical capability of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) must be improved to ‘cure’ crimes committed by the police, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said.

The Sultan in a decree at the RBPF Officers’ Mess during a working visit to the RBPF on Tuesday (Dec 6), said many crimes are committed by the police such as bribery, gambling and breach of trust or conspiring with criminal gangs. Among them are informing of roadblock operations and raids making it difficult for enforcement officers to collect evidence, he said.

The monarch called on the RBPF to have a corporate strategic planning roadmap to drive them towards more proper policing in the future.

“I see that such a corporate strategic planning roadmap can improve all aspects of leadership, management, administration, training and logistical capability of the police,” he said.

“This should not be allowed to continue to happen as it affects the credibility of the force. The question is who is responsible to improve such weaknesses?” the monarch asked.

“The answer is, it must be tackled internally as the police force is like one family whereby if one personnel is problematic, then the head of the family should tackle it.

“This means that the head is more important to make an immediate judgement. If the head or the superior does not practise cronyism and nepotism, then a solution can be found in a better and fair manner.”

The Sultan said high-ranking officers as the head of department must not abuse power and suppress their subordinates. They have no right to do so.

No officer or personnel of the RBPF should be above the law, the monarch said. “As a leader or superior, they should not protect those committing crime or conspire with them.”

He said besides mistreatment, some violate work ethics such as leaving the workplace even before the event ends and heading to the office to rest.

“What is more despicable is when high-ranking officers sexually harass colleagues. This matter should not be taken lightly by the superior and should be eradicated. There is no point if one is holding a post as a security personnel but his act does not provide any safety.”

Any character deemed not good violates discipline. Discipline is a core pillar that must be adhered to. Anyone who ignores discipline must be responsible for their action and should not be compromised for judgement, the monarch said.

The Sultan cited an example where early this year, some personnel from the Marine Police comprising Police Constable to Staff Sergeant were allegedly involved in a breach of trust and abuse of power involving smuggling into the country.

“Is this not violating discipline?” he asked, adding that it jeopardises the reputation of the Marine Police and RBPF in general.

“In addition, the level of professionalism and integrity of the police force is questionable and affects public confidence towards the police.”

He added, “This is not a tedious issue but very serious and disgraceful. Other weaknesses or shortcomings that must be resolved include the inability to bring in benefits to police force projects costing millions of dollars although the projects have long been implemented and it is not or has not been used yet. Also a significant weakness at the moment yet to overcome is the lack of vehicles at police stations. This is undoubtedly a flaw that needs attention and action.

“The leadership in the force cannot just remain silent but needs to think and act to overcome shortcomings. Then there is a meaning that the police force has a charismatic leader.

“As a step forward, aspects of human resource planning must be updated. Planning should take into account the needs of the police force including the number of members and the need to re-evaluate the promotion system by prioritising merit. All levels must be ensured to have the ability and skills in line with current requirements. This is the main goal of the police force so that we and the nation can see it as complete and perfect.”

The monarch also said RBPF marked its 100th anniversary on Jan 1, 2021, and congratulated all personnel, either working or have retired, for their meritorious service.

“Looking back at 100 years of its establishment, various progress and developments have been seen including tests or obstacles. But it should not dampen their spirit.

“The police force must be steadfast and ready in facing all challenges and free against any elements that could weaken it. The police force should not turn their back on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) because if any crime or violations of security are not contained according to the SOPs, it will be a disappointment.”

The Sultan concluded his decree by saying that the police commissioner and senior officers need to think about what action should be taken on matters that have been touched in the decree and not do matters that do not bring benefits and even outside the scope of their duties like finding the source of the information obtained.

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