PETALING JAYA: Police lock-up rules were revised in 2014 to prevent custodial deaths but the rank and file are oblivious to them, says EAIC chairman Datuk Yaacob Md Sam.
EAIC is the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission which monitors misconduct allegations against enforcement agencies.
The commission’s inspections following the two custodial deaths this year found those manning lock-ups were still relying on old procedures, said Yaacob.
The inspections were done at the Bera (Pahang) and Klang (North) district police headquarters.
When asked which of the rules policemen were unaware of, he said “all”.
“They (rank and file) still think police officers had the discretion to decide on whether injured suspects should be sent to a hospital,” he said.
Yaacob said the revised rules were comprehensive and covered the treatment during arrest – if detainees suffered injuries, how they should be handled in the lock-up and when they should be taken to hospital.
“I am very happy with the rules. My only concern is compliance,” said Yaacob who added that Bukit Aman’s management should ensure all police personnel are educated on their own procedures.
Malaysian Institute of Integrity president Dr Anis Yusal Yusoff said the EAIC had given their views prior to the revision of the lock-up rules and standard operating procedure two years ago.
“Enforcement remains a problem. The lock-up rules need to be understood and followed by all those entrusted to implement them,” said Anis, who is also an EAIC commissioner.
They were responding to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s (Suhakam) call for a full review of the Lock-up Rules 1953 and standard operating procedure following last Wednesday’s death of S. Balamurugan in Klang.
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail in a statement said deaths in police custody remained a long-standing problem.
He attributed this to the failures to strictly comply with existing lock-up and operating procedures which were sometimes bypassed, allowing abuses in custody.
“Suhakam is of the view policies to prevent and hold accountable police use of torture and ill-treatment are inadequate and the authorities have delayed lock-up reforms. As a result, impunity has prevailed for those responsible,” he said.