On 31 May, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Acryl Sani, held a press conference about the MCO. He also spoke briefly about lockup deaths.
Kinit TV (link), reported that he said “the police force is committed to making sure deaths in custody do not occur. … the force is working to improve the way detainees are held. … health checks will also be conducted by police officers to ascertain a detainees health level.”
Astro Awani, (link), reported that he said suspects “should be taken for health screening before being placed in the lockups.”
There are other media reports. None mention the medical examination mandated by the Lockup Rules: an examination by a government doctor.
There are over 400 active lockups. 917,841 persons were put in lockups in 2018. (Home Minister, parliamentary answer, 20 July 2020.) How many doctors and staff are needed in order to comply with the Lockup rules?
None of the reports mention a written statement. And therein lies the problem. Whatever Sani said is open to interpretation.
Also, according to reports, Sani said he welcomes investigations, by the EAIC (Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission), of alleged lockup-death-related police misconduct. The reports don’t say, but he probably meant after a court decides on cause of death.
As I’ve argued before (link), by law, the police must conduct the investigations.
If the police wait for the EAIC, evidence may be lost or diluted. And, the wait will be long, because the EAIC must complete some processes before it begins to investigate. And, the EAIC needs misconduct allegations to be specific. And, if the EAIC begins, the police must stop. (EAIC Act, sections 17, 23-26.)
Previously, the police have “reinvestigated” EAIC’s work. Will this now change? Will EAIC officers testify in court?
Can the EAIC act as rapidly as the police? Recall that the EAIC has 78 employees, while the police have about 140,000.
Meaning well isn’t enough. Doing well is needed.
Doing well means saying what the changes are, saying how the changes will be implemented, and saying when and where data will be published to show effectiveness.
Will the IGP show his officers and the public that he knows overuse of lockups is a key issue which he must address (link, link)? Will he do well? I hope he does.