Onus on police to update victims on progress of investigations, says criminologist

Did you know that after lodging a police report, the onus is on the cops to update you about the progress of the investigation?

However, many victims are often forced to write to the respective stations to get an update.

Criminologist, Associate Professor (Honorary) Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy, said police have four steps and a time frame to follow after a person lodges a report.

Sundramoorthy said police should:

  1. Inform victims or complainants once they open an investigation paper (IP).
  2. Update complainants about the progress of the IP after two weeks.
  3. Update complainants within two weeks after the investigation is completed.
  4. Update complainants within two weeks after the case is decided in court.

He added that people do not expect miracles and know that not all cases can be solved quickly. They only want updates on their reports.

“However, most do not even get a phone call after they lodge a report. That is not fair to the victim or complainant,” said Sundramoorthy, an honorary associate professor (criminology) at the School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

“Victims are already traumatised. The last thing they need is to be kept in the dark.”

Sundramoorthy said police are public servants and should make everything as smooth and as transparent as possible.

This includes the process of filing police reports, which can be time-consuming.

“I know many people who feel intimidated when they enter a police station. Sometimes, they feel as if they have done something wrong,” said Sundramoorthy.

“In most democratic countries, there is a thing called CSO – community service officers. I have yet to see one at police stations in Malaysia.

“A CSO is there to talk to people – victims or witnesses – and to put them at ease. They have to be sensitive to the needs of victims or those coming in to lodge a report.”

He added that the force must cut down on the time people spend in police stations, adding that lodging reports should be “painless, easy, and more importantly, quick”.

Sundramoorthy added that police officers who take down the reports must pass their contact details to the complainants.

“Investigating officers or their assistants have name cards. It should be the SOP (standard operating procedure) for them to give out the cards. That does not happen now,” he said.

“I have spoken to many victims, and when I ask who’s in charge of their case, they don’t know.

“As a professional courtesy, police officers should give their names and contact numbers.

“If they do not want to give out their mobile numbers, they can give out their office numbers and extensions,” he added.

Main image: Infomation Department of Malaysia

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