Tougher challenges await new police chief

Tougher challenges await new police chief

National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian (ANTARA PHOTO/Yudhi Mahatma)

"Crimes, such as terrorism, intolerance-triggered conflicts, and mass conflicts, with implications of contingencies, will be my main focus," Karnavian stated.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The newly installed National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian might be relatively young for the top post, but he is believed to be ready to face challenges, which are getting increasingly tougher.

At 51, Tito is Indonesias second-youngest police chief after the late legendary General Hoegeng Imam Santoso, who was 47 when he was installed in 1968.

Previously chief of the National Counter-Terrorism Agency, Tito was installed as the Police chief by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the State Palace on July 13 to succeed General Badrodin Haiti, who entered retirement period in July 2016.

President Jokowi had proposed the name of the then commissioner general Karnavian as the sole candidate in a letter to the House of Representatives (DPR) on June 15. The DPR then approved Karnavians nomination at a plenary meeting on June 27.

"Your challenges in future will be heavier and more complex, but I believe that under your leadership, Polri (Indonesian Police force) will be able to face them well and will be able to gain greater trust of the people," President Jokowi reminded Karnavian in his inauguration remarks.

The head of state urged Karnavian to specifically focus on maintaining unity in the Police force and on bringing about reforms in his institution.

"To meet major challenges in future, I ask you to focus on two things. Firstly, you must maintain unity, cohesiveness, and solidarity in the Police force to build a strong foundation to carry out the state duties," he affirmed.

Besides this, the president urged the police chief to conduct reforms consistently and across the Police force.

Jokowi said in his speech at the 70th anniversary of the Police force on July 1 that reforms in the force were the key to meeting future challenges.

"Reforms must be carried out thoroughly, from bottom to top, starting from the recruitment process to the Police as a public service and from mental outlook to a change in behavior," he stressed.

The president said he wanted the reform efforts to proceed in a concrete manner and should be reflected by an improvement in Police service and guaranteed protection to the public.

The head of state noted that the people should have easier and simpler access to Police services, without the need to bribe anyone. Moreover, transparent procedures should be followed.

"Eradicate all forms of practices aimed at bending the laws and enhance the sense of professionalism in law enforcement efforts to offer legal certainly and justice to all," he stated.

President Jokowi also reiterated that the new chief must encourage the Police force to offer equal protection to all community members.

The Police must be able to act as a force that removes all differences, lays emphasis on the value of tolerance, and strengthens a sense of unity, he underlined.

"The Police must also be able to work together with other government institutions to ensure the people stay vigilant to any threats posed by terrorism and narcotic drugs," he advised.

The president suggested that the Police should take preventive steps and make efforts for the early detection of any potential security threats, especially terrorism.

Karnavian, considered to be an expert in the fight against terrorism, said he will focus on handling crimes, such as terrorism and conflicts caused by intolerance.

"Crimes, such as terrorism, intolerance-triggered conflicts, and mass conflicts, with implications of contingencies, will be my main focus," Karnavian stated after his inauguration.

The Police will act proactively, step up intelligence operations, and work towards community development, he noted.

The new general also vowed to intensify preventive measures and promote professional law enforcement.

Karnavian also reiterated his commitment to arresting Santoso, the alleged terrorist, hiding in Central Sulawesi.

"Clearly, it still remains our main target," he added.

The Santoso group has been under pressure and can no longer launch attacks, thanks to military operations, such as "Camar", and "Tinombala," conducted by the government, he pointed out.

The group initially had 47 members, and now only 21 remained, he remarked.

This indicates that military operations have been successful, he said, adding that Santoso would be captured, either dead or alive, and it was just a matter of time.

However, Karnavian said he would use a soft approach for the sake of the community and compel terrorists to face the legal process in line with the existing laws.

Born in Palembang, South Sumatra Province, on October 26, 1964, Karnavian joined the Police Academy in 1987 and his previous posts, included the Jakarta Police chief and head of the Special Detachment 88 counter-terrorism squad.

Karnavian graduated from the Exeter University in the Great Britain and earned his masters degree in Police Studies in 1993, among others.

In 1998, Karnavian graduated from the Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, with Strategic Studies as a major subject. Later, he earned his PhD from the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore in 2013.

Karnavians reputation began to grow during his term with the Polices Special Detachment 88, which succeeded in neutralizing notorious terrorist leaders, such as Azhari Husin and Noordin M. Top.

Following his inauguration, Karnavian has been tasked with suggesting President Jokowi the names of several candidates to succeed him as chief of the National Counter-Terrorism Agency.(*)