Give IGP extra hands to combat drug trade, says criminologist

The narcotics investigation department in the police force does not just wait for a case to show up before springing into action. They work proactively round the clock, sniffing out drug pushers and users.

A workforce of some 5,000 nationwide to combat the lucrative drug trade is a ridiculously small number given the burden and expectations, stressed criminologist Assoc Prof Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy.

“Those working in the narcotics department, they go out looking for cases and not the other way around,” said Sundramoorthy.

“People must understand there’s a lot of gathering of intelligence, working undercover and other processes to nab those in the illicit drug trade. They also arrest users,” said Sundramoorthy.

The Universiti Sains Malaysia lecturer added much time and energy are spent to combat the menace which is not exclusive to Malaysia.

“That is why the police force needs more personnel.”

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador had on Wednesday expressed his intention to meet the Public Service Department regarding beefing up the narcotics investigation department workforce to 16,000.

During a press conference in George Town, he also warned that Malaysia “could be run by mafias or warlords like in Latin America” if the number of police personnel is not increased.

“The IGP is being proactive with the (mafia) reference. The drug trade is a worldwide menace and is lucrative and the element of corruption will always be a threat as those in the trade are willing to bribe officials,” added Sundramoorthy.

“In fact, bribery in narcotics trade is the biggest problem worldwide.”

He also said many inmates were involved in the drug trade and the number of women offenders had risen steadily over the past five years.

“A senior practitioner in the criminal justice system doing her PhD is on this topic (rise of women offenders in drug-related crimes). I’m sure there will be a correlation among women drug users too,” he added.

“Also, those involved in the trade don’t seem to be deterred by the death sentence. Over 1,000 inmates are on death row in Malaysia and a majority of them were involved with drugs.”

According to Amnesty International, 1,281 people are on death row and are being held in 26 detention centres nationwide with 73 per cent of them convicted of drug trafficking.

Sundramoorthy added the additional 11,000 personnel requested by Abdul Hamid was “perhaps an optimal figure” but admitted there will be many considerations, including funding and logistics when it comes to approving additional hirings.

“If the police get their request, I’m sure people would want to see results but these things don’t happen overnight. We may see a surge in the number of arrests in the early days but we need to also monitor and see if the surge (of arrests) continues, reaches a plateau or declines over time.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.


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