Security and criminality PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 03 October 2014 11:54

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

Some days ago I sat at a meeting on the security situation —  peace and order — for the city. The PowerPoint presentation took up the usual menu of concerns on this matter: the threats from the ASG and other letter groups in our area; the  budget for the police force is inadequate to beef up the capabilities of the PNP to answer the threats; the need for a more effective intelligence system and the roles of the barangays and the citizens on this matter. I could not help getting the feeling that these were points I had heard of before, more than once.

In fairness I can’t say that these are trivial matters as they relate to making our city more secure. But I was hoping for more updates on the same situation that has existed even before the Sept 9,  2014 attack.

When it came to the matter of how the city is responding to the possible threats  I did not pick up  very much on what has been added to  the police repertoire.

Also I am uneasy about the seeming tendency to say that when we talk of security we mean “security against the threats coming from the rebel groups”. I may have misunderstood it but I got the distinct impression that killings of civilians, kidnappings, robberies, stealing of motorcycles,  the drug problem, etc  fall under “criminality” and are distinct from “security threats”.  Perhaps in police parlance they do,  but to an ordinary resident like me these criminal activities are  threats  to the  security of my person and my loved ones  and to my property.

In my simple understanding the military is responsible for the security and integrity of the state and the police for the security and the safety of the  ordinary “taong bayan”.  With that said, where are we in ZC as regards the safety of ordinary citizens?

The national media provides us with all the provocative reports of the criminality situation in Metro Manila which are not very much different from our own in ZC albeit the frequency may be different between the two places.  MM residents are up in arms particularly with the fact that in many incidents that have landed in the media the criminals involved were  members of the police force themselves. I am not lumping all policemen/women  into one basket. But this situation does lead us to think: how do we address this problem in the country and in our city, if it is a problem here?

There is an urgent need to look at these factors in our police force nation wide:  recruitment, training, development of required competencies, continuing enhancement of competencies and, very important, prosecution and dismissal from the service of those who are found either engaged in criminal activities or are in hand-in-glove associations with criminals.

There are a number of questions that have come up in my mind:

1.    Is the collection of finger prints part of the SOP for crime investigations?

2.    Do we have a data base for such finger prints ?

3.    Do we have someone in the city’s police force trained to run finger print comparisons?

4.    Do we have people in the police force trained ( emphasis mine)  to interview and gather relevant information when the police is called into the case?

There are other questions that should be taken up but perhaps in another piece.