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The Indonesian National Police, The Guard and Protector of the Community during the Covid-19 Pandemic




During the Covid-19 pandemic, the paradigm of the role of the Police as a guard and protector of the community must develop. This development is at least an awareness of two aspects. The first aspect is awareness of the characteristics of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic which is classified as a non-natural disaster has different characteristics from the typologies of other disasters that have been known and understood all this time. The Covid-19 pandemic not only raises health problems that have an impact on economic, social, cultural and political life, but also it has created threats over a large geographical area, which has a very long duration, it difficult to control and it has an impact on social structures. Since its identification at the end of 2019, more than 200 countries have been affected, 1.3% of the world’s population has been infected with the virus and more than 2.1 million peoples have died from Covid-19. The characteristics that have not been identified by Frailing and Harper (2017).

To learn more about this report read Progress Of Covid-19 at Region Polda Metro Jaya

The second aspect that there is a logical consequence along with the emergence of awareness that the definition of crime during the Covid-19 disaster needs to be redefined. During the Covid-19 pandemic, crime is not only defined as behavior that harms or causes injury to others, but also crime during the pandemic must be defined as behavior that incurs costs or more (additional) suffering to others or behavior that puts oneself or others in risky, or dangerous situations. In this context, it is imperative that the Police in synergy with the TNI (Indonesian Army) and the Civil Service Police, strive to enforce the health protocols, disperse the crowd, including intensifying testing efforts. The crowd has proven to be a very effective means of transmitting Covid-19, the crowd is Covid-19’s friends. The testing efforts were intensified considering that there were many cases of people who were aware and knew that they were exposed to the Covid-19 virus, but still interacted physically and carried out mobility in the community.

Some of the interesting violations of health protocol are the number of cases that have resulted in crowds. For example, the forced repatriation of Covid-19 sufferers or the bodies of Covid-19 patients from the hospital, the refusal of funerals for Covid-19 patients, attending funerals of Covid-19 patients without heeding health protocols. Other crowds also occur during celebrations, group worship, shopping and traveling without heeding health protocols.

Forced Retrieval of Bodies and Crowds

Here are some examples of events as reported by a number of online media. In Batam, Riau Islands, the body of a Covid-19 victim at the Embung Fatimah Regional General Hospital was about to be forcibly taken by a group of people, (25/8/2020) Tuesday night. The patient is a resident of Kampung Seraya, Kampung Seraya Village, Batu Ampar District as quoted by Kompas.com. However, this effort was prevented by the Regional Public Hospital (RSUD) staff, even though a doctor was beaten by one of the people who intended to forcibly take the body. According to the Head of Batam Health Service Didi Kusmarjadi, the patient’s swab result was confirmed positive for Covid-19. He suspected that the people who pick up forcefully did not want the bodies to be buried according to health protocols.

A similar thing happened at Metro Hospital Cikupa, Tangerang Regency, Banten, Sunday (20/9/2020). According to SuaraJakarta.id, the incident occurred around 12.30 pm when dozens of men who intended to forcibly take the bodies, arrived. They and the victim’s family finally brought the body in the hospital ambulance. Spokesperson for the The COVID-19 Task Force, Hendra Tarmidzi, explained that the body was a Covid-19 patient, a resident of Cibadak Village, Cikupa District. He said “The results of the patient’s rapid test are reactive. The family should have waited for the results of the swab test”. To avoid conflict, the hospital finally allowed the family and entourage to retrieve the bodies. Hendra said, “The body is allowed to be taken after the Neighbourhood Association (RT) / Community Association (RW) signed a statement of responsibility for the body”. He was worried that the body would not be buried immediately, but they take first to the funeral home.

Elsewhere, at Waluyo Jati Kraksaan Regional Hospital, Probolinggo Regency, East Java (East Java), Saturday (16/2021), around 100 peoples came to forcibly take the bodies of Covid-19 patients. Chief of Police District, Police Grand Commissioner Adjutant Ferdy Irawan, as quoted by Tribunews.com, explained that the incident began when a resident of Kalibuntu Village tested positive for Covid-19. The patient died after several days of being admitted to the hospital. After death, health workers including members of the Indionesian National Police, Indonesian National Army and civil service police Unit (Satpol PP) appealed to the patient’s family that the body be buried according to health protocols. In the middle of the conversation, a mob from Kalibuntu Village came to forcibly take the bodies of Covid-19 patients. Residents rhythmically moved the corpse to the pick-up car carried by the residents. Furthermore, the body was taken to the funeral home.

At Brebes Regional Public Hospital, Central Java, as quoted by Solopos.com, a group of people insisted on forcibly taking the body of a Covid-19 patient. According to the Director of Brebes Regional Public Hospital, O’o Suprana, this case of forcibly taking the body occurred because the residents did not accept that the patient was sentenced to die due to positive Covid-19, according to the results of the hospital laboratory examination. He explained, the patient was a resident of Wanasari District who died Saturday at 03.00 in the isolation room. He said, “The patient’s PCR test result was positive for Covid-19.” The corpse was finally taken back by the related officer for handled and buried according to the health protocol. The Brebes Chief of Police District, Police Grand Commissioner Adjutant, Gatot Yulianto said, “The family had objected to the body being buried in accordance with the Health Committee, but after we persuaded them, they finally accepted it”.

There is something similar, At Daya Hospital, Makassar, South Sulawesi as quoted by Liputan6.com, it happened on Saturday (27/6/2020). After the family’s body was forcibly taken, the corpse handling was not in accordance with the health protocol. Subsequently the police charged the guarantor for the body, a member of the Makassar House of Representatives of the Province, Andi Hadi Ibrahim Baso. Head of Criminal Investigation Unit of the Makassar Metropolitan Police, Commissioner Agus Khaerul, at (13/7/2020), Monday night said, “Another suspect is Andi Nur Rahmat. The number of witnesses we examined, 13 peoples.”

In Situbondo, East Java, the family of the Covid-19 patient who died, refused to bury the patient’s body according to the health protocol. How lucky, after they receiving the understanding from the police and other relevant officers, the family agreed to bury the bodies of their family members according to health protocols.

The forcibly retrieving the bodies of Covid-19 victims also occurred at the Mataram City Hospital, West Nusa Tenggara. Even though the police had set up a barricade to prevent the masses from entering the Regional Public Hospital, the Regional Public Hospital  manager finally gave in and allowed the bodies to be taken by force using the village ambulance.said a member of the Regional Public Hospital negotiation team, Dewi Sayu Veronika said, “Before we hand over the bodies, our family and resident representatives ask to sign a statement letter rejecting the funeral with the Covid-19 health protocol,” as quoted by Detik.com, Monday (27/7/2020) .

The forced retrieval of the bodies of Covid-19 victims also took place at Stella Maris Hospital, Makassar, Sunday (7/6/2020). Because the police and Indonesian National Army (TNI) personnel were short of personnel facing around 150 people, they allowed the corpses to be forcibly taken by the masses and transferred to an ambulance vehicle prepared by the family. The Ujung Pandang Chief of Police Sector, Commissioner Wahyu Basuki said, “Our strength is not balanced compared to the number of masses who came.”

In Pasuruan, East Java, thousands of mourners jostled to take Habib Hasan Assegaf’s body to its final resting place. As a result of this incident, the East Java Regional Police together with the local government, the Indonesian National Army (TNI) and other related agencies conducted mass tracing. East Java Regional Police Chief Inspector General Nico Afinta, Wednesday (30/12/2020) night said, “We carried out tracing of the deceased’s family at the deceased’s house on Jalan KH Abdul Hamid, Kebonsari, Panggungrejo, Pasuruan City, East Java on Tuesday (29/12/2020) from 12 pm  to 01.30 pm”. Nico added, “Furthermore, together with the local government and related agencies, as well as the Indonesian National Army (TNI), we will carry out mass tracing”.  On the seventh day, the number of participants is limited, which is half of the space capacity

Some the good practices that can actually be taken to avoid the forcibly taking the body include:

Provide an explanation to the public that the corpse handling is covered with health protocols in accordance with the Shari’a. The explanation of this matter is not only involves the Police, but also involves community leaders and religious leaders.

Provide an opportunities for family representatives to participate in the process of handling the body. Absolutely, all the facilities for personal protective equipment must be provided and family representatives who are involved in the corpse handling process must have received a detailed explanation of what they may or may not do during the corpse handling process.

Designing the corpse handling room in such a way that family members can witness the corpse handling process. For example, by installing a camera in the corpse handling room and the family can watch it in another room.

Remind the public that there is a threat of criminal punishment for forcibly taking the body.

The recordings of these events show how difficult it is to break the Covid-19 chain. The efforts to implement PSBB (Large-Scale Social Restrictions) and PPKM (Restrictions on Community Activities) socialization and education actions on the application of health protocols, as well as work from home and school from home policies in their implementation often end in disputes, even conflicts.

The Moral Calling

Observing the development of this situation, Indonesian National Police deserves to change its paradigm as a guard and protector of the community. As the guard and protector of the community, the Indonesian National Police is expected to be able to apply the concept of community policing through collaboration (collaborative policing) based on the problem-oriented policing. The collaborating with all stakeholders to accelerate the handling of Covid-19.

This step was realized to stop, reduce or minimize the rate of increase in residents exposed to Covid-19, as well as the socio-economic impacts that follow. The intervention through the collaboration is carried out from the community level (community policing).

Because of the moral calling to guarding and protecting the community, the Indonesian National Police should have been involved in handling and burying the bodies of Covid-19 victims. They have to involved in spraying disinfectants with the community and even being involved in the public kitchens of disaster victims in the midst of the Covid pandemic. If the police execute this or not accordingly, in fact the police have violated their morality as a guard and protector of society. In observing such an assessment, it also appears caused of the inability to see the big concept currently being carried out by the Police, namely trying to reduce the occurrence of civil unrest and maintain social order.

The Indonesian National Police is expected to be able to mobilize the participation of all community-based elements of society, it considering that in this sense community is the smallest unit most affected by Covid-19.

The Kampung Tangguh Jaya

By the new paradigm of Indonesian National Police’s role as a guard and protector of the community, The Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Region of the Indonesian National Police in concert  with The Jakarta Raya Military Regional Command,  Special Capital Territory of Jakarta provincial government and all other stakeholders made this happen by building the Kampung Tangguh Jaya. The main function of Kampung Tangguh Jaya is to control the number of Covid-19 contamination by conducting testing, tracing, treatment and practicing the 3M health protocol, namely wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining distance.

The testing was carried out with rapid tests and swab tests, as well as PCR, while tracing or tracking was carried out regarding the contact history of Covid-19 patients, time, and location. The treatment or healing is made based on the  categories of light, moderate, severe, and very severe. The mild category is carried out through independent isolation, while the category is being carried out through field hospitals. The heavy category and very heavy performed at the referral hospital.

On the other side, in managing the community security, The Kampung Tangguh Jaya is expected to be able to strengthen guard, monitor incidents and detect friction that has the potential for conflict.

The administrators of the Kampung Tangguh Jaya are expected to be able to control manage and monitor various health and safety issues in their respective places. The role of Village Leadership NCO for Social Security and Order of the Police (Bhabinkamtibmas), village leadership NCO (Babinsa) and the Community Association  (RW) Chairman as the backbone of Kampung Tangguh Jaya in providing assistance and mentoring is the main thing.

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