Press Statement By Irene Changed：
The incident of the 16-year-old girl being alleged to have been raped by a male suspect while being detained in the lock up in Miri police station on Jan 9 is the reason why generally the public has no confidence that the police would protect them from offences or crimes committed against them. It is also the reason why many offences go unreported as the people do not have the confidence that their cases would be resolved and the offenders would be punished according to the law. And what had happened in the Miri police station had reinforced that general perception.
What this 16-year-old girl did in reporting the rape being committed on her was brave and recommendable. Rape is one of the most demoralizing type of crime violating human rights. And as a rape victim, it is never easy to report on the rape. The victim would have to deal with the stigma and the suspicions of whether she had in anyway done anything to encourage the incident. She would now also have to relive the nightmare during the hearing of the court case against the suspect.
What is most unacceptable in this incident was the fact that the suspect had the audacity to commit the offence in the police station, which is supposed to represent a place where law is upheld. This begs the question how could the suspect get hold of the keys to the girl’s lock up and could commit the rape without anyone raising an alarm. Rape is an offence which could not be committed in seconds. Nor could it be committed without any physical struggles in most cases. It is therefore inconceivable how could the incident happened under the so-called supervision of these officers without anyone coming to the help of the victim. This has seriously compromised the people’s view of the police as a legitimate legal authority.
Although not every police officer nor every police station deserve to be tarred with the same brush, incidences like this do nothing to assuage the people’s poor perception of the police force on the whole. And if the police want to restore their tarnished reputation and to rebuild public trust and regain the people’s confidence in them, they need to practice transparent decision making and police accountability.
To this end, I welcome the statement by the IGP Abdul Hamid Bador that there shall be no compromise and all those found responsible for the rape incident shall be charge in court. The police should demonstrate that an investigation is being carried out without fear or favour even against one of their own. From the investigation, the police should also give an account for the violation of the provisions of the Child Act 2001 on why a child was allowed to be detained in a police lock-up and why was no female officer assigned to take care of the juvenile in the lock-up since she was a female. The police should also clarify and be answerable on why was the CCTV in the lock up not functioning and did not capture the incident in recording. And this incident should be a call to all police stations in the country to buck up and put things right within their own walls. Only then can public confidence and integrity be restored among the men and women in blues.