Feature image for illustration purposes only. It’s from an incident in 2015 where two policemen who were found sleeping on the job. Read about the incident here.
Imagine you’re driving to work or class one day. You’re cruising at a steady and safe speed on the highway when suddenly, this maniac driver cuts in front of you. Surprised by the sudden movement, you didn’t have time to brake and crash into the back of the car. You reel further in shock and anger as the maniac quickly drives off instead of making sure you’re okay or exchanging insurance information.
At this point, you’ll probably want to make a police report of the incident and bring the driver to justice. As a side note, even if you don’t think he can be tracked down, the report will protect you from any false claims the driver may try to take against you.
From here, the best outcome is obviously that the guy gets caught and is punished by the law. But for different reasons, he might not get caught at all. Here are 2 scenarios that you might get upset at, and what you can do about them.
Scenario 1 - There was no legal action taken
Some cases have the police completing their investigation, but end up with no legal action taken - also known as NFA (No Further Action). In some cases, there just isn’t enough evidence to prove the case, important witnesses might not be available, or the suspect just can’t be found. It’s not the most satisfactory ending for a case, but some cases get stuck at this point because there just isn’t any lead to go on.
Before you point at the police, they only have the power to investigate the case. It’s the Attorney General who decides whether to bring a suspect to court. So if a case you reported ended with a NFA, you can actually appeal it to the Attorney General for him to reconsider.
[READ MORE - Who is the Attorney General and what does he do?]
It’s still up to the Attorney General to decide if the case is worth bringing to court, but his decision will be strongly influenced if there is new evidence for the case. What you can do is send a written appeal to the Prosecution Division, Attorney General’s Chambers. You can either address it to your State’s Prosecution Unit, or send it directly to the Headquarters in Putrajaya.
Now let’s consider another scenario where you’ve made a police report, but the investigation seems to be taking forever! Or maybe you went to the police station to make a report, but they refused to take down your statement without a valid reason. What can you do then?
Scenario 2 - Nothing was done about your police report/The police refused to take your statement
Here’s something you might not have known - you can actually ask the police for a status report for the investigation on your case. That’s because of the existence of Section 107A(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. You do this by requesting for a report on the investigation progress from the officer in charge of a police station (the OCS), or the officer in charge of police district (the OCPD).
4 things can happen thereafter:
You’ll get the report within 2 weeks if the crime you reported is a “seizable offence” (normally more serious crimes like robbery and murder where bail is not allowed)
You’ll get the report after 4 weeks of giving your report for other crimes. (including those like pickpocketing)
You’ll not get a report at all if the investigation or prosecution for the crime would be compromised by the report. (like if there was an undercover operation)
You don’t get your report on time without a valid reason, and you can make a complaint to the Attorney General’s Chambers.
That being said, if you lodged a report and the police didn’t take your statement, or didn’t take any action on your report, you can also make a complaint to the OCS or OCPD in writing. You should also CC the complaint to the Prosecution Division of the Attorney General’s Chambers. The other option is to make your complaint directly to the Prosecution Division of the Attorney General’s Chambers, who will then prompt the police station involved for a response.
There’s a proper way to keep government bodies accountable
When a person or group of people have a lot of power, there is potential for that power to be abused. That’s why some branches of government keep an eye on each other to make sure no one oversteps their bounds.
As for the rest of us, when incidents happen, any details we remember could be a lead for the police to track down the suspect. In the hit-and-run example we used at the beginning, having a dashboard camera (dashcam) that recorded the car’s model, plate number, and colour might just be what the police need to move forward with a case.
If we’re not happy with how a government body is handling our case, the first thing we can do is find out what’s going on from them. From there, there are proper channels set up to handle any wrongdoings which we can use to solve the matter instead of taking to social media to rant about it.
[READ MORE - Shaming others on social media could land you in jail]