Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Police Should Have Done The Day After.

Hantu Laut

Apology, it is exactly what the Police should have done after the fatal shooting of 15-year old Amirulrashid Amzah.Not be on the defensive and used bullying tactic to try snuff public outcry.

In my posting "Sorry, Is A Word Never Said Wrong" I epitomized first step the Police should have taken was to apologise to the boy's family for the fatal mistake. Saying sorry does not mean admitting liability which I reckon was the reason the Police refused to do.

The police should seriously consider employing a spokesman or spokesperson who is well-trained in people's skills and public relation.With a spokesman, mistakes made at his level, could be corrected later by the police top brass.

Whether the policeman responsible for the shooting is guilty of homicide is for the court to decide, neither the police nor the public.

Neville Spykerman of Malaysian Insider has given a good sequential actions that the Police should have taken after the tragic shooting.

Below is his take on what should have been done that would have saved the police the public hostility and odium.

Aminulrasyid and the police public relations disaster — Neville Spykerman

May 11, 2010

MAY 11 — The fatal shooting of Aminulrasyid Amzah is fast becoming a public relations disaster case-study-cum-manual for the police on how not to handle a crisis.

The manual for the brass should start with;

— Acknowledging mistakes from the word go

The 14-year-old schoolboy was shot dead in the back of the head. Pointing out that Aminulrasyid was out joyriding in his sister’s car is not going to mitigate the gravity of the tragedy or the culpability of the police.

— Apologise

Instead of issuing a sincere apology to the family for their loss, the police went on a public relations offensive. First by claiming they acted in self defence because the dead boy had attempted to reverse into them when the shots were fire and secondly that a parang was found in the car.

— Avoid demonising the victim

To add salt to the wounds of his family — Aminulrasyid and 15-year-old Azamuddin Omar, who was in the car with him, were initially labelled as criminals.

No efforts have been made by police to clear their names to the dismay of their families.

— Handling the expected public backlash professionally

Did the police really expect the public, media and politicians to lay back and swallow the “official version” of what transpired in the early morning of April 26?

Public outrage was only to be expected.

But again police decided the best defence is to go on the offence.

They issued what DAP’s Lim Kit Siang described as a “ham-fisted and unwarranted warning to politicians and public not to make statements or to speculate on the incident because it would further undermine public confidence in police integrity and professionalism”.

— Avoid portraying the police as the real victims in the tragedy

Tan Sri Musa Hassan threat “to call his men off the streets, if that is what the people want” following the public backlash was both self defeating besides portraying the cops as bullies who are unable to accept criticism.

The Inspector-General of Police demonstrated his inability to empathise with grief of the victim’s family and widespread public anger.

— Keeping the family informed

Is it really so difficult for the police to pick up the phone and inform Aminulrasyid’s family about the developments of the case?

Did it not cross the minds of police that they owed the family that much?

Or did they think it’s sufficient for Aminulrasyid’s family to learn that a police corporal was charged in court yesterday for his death by reading about it the press?

The death of Aminulrasyid is and will continue to be a stain on the uniforms of the men-in-blue as long as they choose to repeat these mistakes.

* Neville Spykerman is a senior reporter with The Malaysian Insider.

Now, that the police have identified the policeman and let justice to take its course, the public should stop making an issue out of it.

Let justice takes its course.

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