NGO questions police negligence

KUCHING: A non-governmental organisation (NGO) has questioned the police for detaining a minor in an unsupervised lockup, which led to her alleged rape.

Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (Edict) said juveniles detained in a lockup shall be cared for by at least one female officer pursuant to section 85 (b) of the Child Act 2001.

“However, in this case, according to the report made by the victim, the cell she occupied was not taken care of and could even be opened by other detainees.

“If this situation is true, then the police must be held accountable for negligence and misconduct against the victim as well as disobeying the instructions contained in the Child Act 2001,” it said in a statement.

Edict viewed that there was no need for the police to detain a minor for a long period of time.

“For non-serious cases, the police should only interrogate the child in the investigation room and detainees do not need to be placed in a lockup,” it said.

The group said to prevent this from happening again, the police must take action against the investigating officer and also other officers involved in this case.

“In addition, training for the police officers in dealing with cases involving children needs to be enhanced,” it said.

Edict also stressed that the establishment of IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission) must be expedited to investigate the misconduct and discipline of members in Royal Malaysian Police.

“The negligence and misconduct of the police on detainees including this case is a serious matter. Only firm action on those police officers involved will be able to deter similar cases from recurring,” it said.

On Saturday, police said they were investigating an incident in which a 16-year-old girl claimed that she was raped by a male detainee while being held at the Miri police station lockup on January 9.

Sarawak police commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail had given the assurance that a thorough investigation would be carried out to determine whether there were elements of negligence in the case.