We must also honour policemen and women during the COVID- 19 pandemic
Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together, EDICT, welcomes the
restrictions and other measures announced on Tuesday by the Prime
Minister to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia.
The effective enforcement of restrictions, on the scale required, places a
great burden upon policemen and women.
Much is expected of our policemen and women. They will have to work
even longer hours than they already do. They will have to rapidly learn
new rules and enforce them effectively.
It is likely that their leave will be cancelled. It is likely that they will have
to wear masks – which can increase the risk of transferring the COVID-19
virus from their hands to their faces and thus lungs. (Wearing masks
increases the chances of them touching their faces with their hands.)
Our policemen and women will have to enforce restrictions which are
unwelcome to large numbers of the public. They will have to enforce them
across all sectors of society – ranging from vagrants to mall owners.
Our policemen and women may have to spend much time away from
home. They, like others who work for essential services such as Bomba,
hospitals, prisons, etc. cannot “self-isolate” like many others can.
Our policemen and women also work in places which are potential centres
of infection – such as lockups – where they will have to provide
medications to detainees and facilitate treatments for them.
Our policemen and women, like those in other essential services, will live
in constant exhaustion, encountering human misery and unpleasantness
daily, while monitored and commented upon by a critical public.
Due to uncurbed and unpunished abuse of power by some policemen,
most policemen and women are often treated badly by members of the
public – and indeed are sometimes abused.
During this time when a virus shows us our common humanity and
vulnerability, EDICT urges the public to honour policemen and women.
Policemen and women are essential to our wellbeing. They sacrifice much
for us. They must be obeyed and treated with respect when they carry
out their work in accordance with the law.
We encourage the public to go out of their way to stand with the police
during this trying time in our nation. Don’t abuse them. Help them.
18 March 2020