This article was originally written and published in Bahasa Indonesia on 2 December 2021.
The controversy surrounding Polri lately has prompted us to revisit the 2045 Vision that was set to reform Indonesia’s bureaucracies. Little has been done to actualize the ambitious vision, yet the situation afoot calls for a swift and comprehensive reform, especially in Polri.
One of the controversies surrounding Indonesia’s National Police Department (Polri) in 2021 was its seemingly repressive stance against the masses. The people widely heeded it due to social media and news outlets repeatedly reproducing the issue. For instance, the allegation of sexual violence in Luwu Timur, South Sulawesi saw the emergence of #percumalaporpolisi (it’s useless to report to the cops). The hashtag’s popularity was sparked by the release of Project Multatuli’s report titled “Tiga Anak Saya Diperkosa, Saya Lapor Polisi. Polisi Hentikan Penyelidikan”, which reported the reluctance of the police to investigate a rape case. However, the piece was inaccessible for a few days after its release.
Consequently, there was a looming suspicion of deliberate repression by the police. It is not the first time the police have gone over the line. There had been many occasions, such as mural removal, phone search, and the incident of police slamming a student to the floor. Therefore, there should be a revision of police bureaucracy. These patterns indicate the need for bureaucracy repair in the police department as law enforcement.
Indonesia’s Golden Vision 2045 was supposed to be the foundation of bureaucracy reformation in Indonesia. In short, it is a vision of development regulation formulated by Bappenas in Jokowi’s era. In the foreword, Jokowi stated that the idea is intended to achieve the nation’s purpose–as mandated by the 1945 Constitution Preamble–in the spirit of 100 years of Indonesia’s Independence. Satjipto Rahardjo (1980) further supports the vision’s importance by arguing that development is the only pathway for developing countries to liberate themselves from struggle and adversity.
The vision took two years in the making. In 2019, Bambang Brodjonegoro, former Minister of National Development Planning, expressed that the concept represents four pillars of national development. One of them is the fortification of national resilience and governance, which is the fourth pillar of national development. This pillar seeks to improve national democracy, reform institutions and bureaucracy, build a national law and anti-corruption system, perform an active and free foreign policy, and solidify national security and defence. Thus, problems surrounding Polri are obstacles to the bureaucracy reformation envisioned in Indonesia’s Golden Vision 2045.
Bureaucracy Reformation and Paradigm Evolution
Bureaucracy reform is a change process to create clean governance and to upgrade the capacity and accountability of state apparatus performance. Crucially, the issue involves its ongoing paradigm shift. Understanding the paradigm shift is essential because it will provide the necessary main points and reasons, especially regarding the nation’s effort to achieve its goals. Peter Aucoin (1990) postulates that a paradigm is a model which portrays reality and forges steps of change. We can explore paradigm evolution through the transformation of old public administration into new public management and then new public service.
The oldest paradigm, Old Public Administration (OPA), has a distinct character of closed hierarchical governance strictly controlled by a central authority. People’s involvement and expressive rights were limited, causing the paradigm to be abandoned over time. What came after was the New Public Management (NPM), a form of governance based on business logic and efficiency, or managerialism. It tries to bring corporations’ managerial ideology to the masses through social institutions (Kilkauer, 2015). Terry (1993, 1998) suggests managerialism threatens democracy and constitutional values, namely justice, equality, representation, and people’s participation. Furthermore, managerialism-based NPM would eventually fall into the same manners as OPA in bureaucracy, hierarchy, and control (Denhardt & Denhardt, 2007). Hence, a new alternative paradigm is needed. That alternative came in the form of New Public Services (NPS). NPS has a contrasting view of the previous paradigms by promoting public services, democratic rule, and people’s participation.
People’s participation is critical in a collaborative governance concept, which gained traction in the last five decades. Collaborative governance allows the people and government bodies to partake in consensus-based decision-making. The collaboration process could be pursued through direct dialogue, trust-building among stakeholders, shared vision, and gradual growth. It gives hope for expanding democratic spaces (Ansell and Gash, 2007).
Paradigm shift shows a similar pattern from one time to another. It is proven by the increase in people’s willingness to participate in the governance process, particularly the performance of law-enforcement agencies. Kami Simmons (2010) indicated that the current paradigm, which advocates a bottom-up reformation approach–from people to policy-makers–could bridge the inadequacies of democracy in the governance process. The same outlook is also mentioned in the fourth pillar of Indonesia’s Golden Vision 2045 regarding the reformation of law-enforcement agencies.
The United States and Japan’s Police Reform
Indonesia is in dire need of law-enforcement agencies, specifically Polri, which function as the primary protector of public interest. Its position comes with lofty expectations. One is the prosecution of law-enforcement agencies should they act arbitrarily (Simmons, 2010). Ryuji Okabe (2014) introduces the “police reform paradigm,” emphasising the ongoing United States and Japan police reform. He compares police departments’ conditions between the United States and Japan in terms of academic, central government, regional government, and police chief’s roles. The United States has a lead in the idea founding and reform strategy based on social education; meanwhile, Japan is strong at implementing those ideas with its effective division of authority. The comparison shows the design and implementation needed to fulfil police reform in Indonesia.
Bratton (1998) states that social education is essential for producing educated police. Academic contributions have led to robust reform strategies and ideas. 1967’s publication of The Challenge of Crime in Free Society was pivotal in marking intellectual influence in police reform. The publication contains enormous police scandals, public unrest, and a crime rate hike in America in the early 1960-s. After the piece was released, President Lyndon B. Johnson and fellow academics started investigating the effectiveness of police regulations. Also, Wilson and Kelling (1982) found out severe crimes originated from untimely penalising of minor offences, calling it “broken-windows policing.” These new academic insights provoke a reconsideration of existing policies.
Nevertheless, its implications are limited due to the discorded nature of state and federal police. In contrast, scholarly contributions are not apparent in Japan’s police reform due to a lack of trust between the government and academic bodies. A low criminal rate means that scholarly contributions are minimally needed (Okabe, 2014).
Concerning the central government, US Constitution does not mandate dominant control of police departments to the US federal government, making it somewhat irrelevant to its role in police reform (James and Harrington, 2020). Instead, it belongs to the states. This fragmentation characterises the police structure in the United States. According to Okabe, it hinders direct contributions from the federal government, which challenges implementing changes in local police. On the other hand, Japan’s police have a centralised bureau called Keisatsu-chō (National Police Agency), consisting of 47 prefecture police. Each prefecture police is in charge of operational duties, while Keisatsu-chō focuses on setting the regulations. Thus, Keisatsu-chō has the authority to push reform ideas. Okabe views this leadership as the recipe for police reform success. Although, Japan has not fully grasped the potential of Keisatsu-chō because of its insufficient effort to unearth police reform strategies (Okabe, 2014).
Indonesia’s Police Reform and 2045 Vision
Perkapolri No. 8 (Head of Police Law Number 8) 2009 was meant to be the kickstarter of police reform in Indonesia. It was designed to systematically overhaul Polri’s structural, normative, and instrumentation aspects. Normatively, it attempts to bring forth the professional, intelligent, and humanist image of Polri (Hariwibowo et al., 2012). Although released in 2009, its values align with the aforementioned 2045 Vision as the newest grand design of bureaucracy reformation focused on collaborative governance. It contains pivotal institutional norms such as people-driven, locally empowered, and responsive. In line with the reform agenda, Kapolri (Head of National Police) Listyo Sigit issued the PRESISI concept in January 2021. It aims to enhance the consistency of Polri’s performance, engrave responsibilities in every action, and be transparent in serving justice. In Alexander Haryanto’s (2021) words, the concept is Sigit’s commitment to fulfilling justice needs with restorative justice principles.
However, there is still a mismatch between bureaucracy reform implementation and the PRESISI program. It is noticeable in the arrest of a corn farmer who waved a protest flag in Blitar or the beating of a citizen named Deky Warmasubun by DD alias N, a member of Brimob (Mobile Brigade Corps), which goes unresponded by Polresta (City Police) Bogor. Both cases contradict democracy and people’s participation values inherent in the 2045 Vision. This evolution of paradigm also demands the public to take a bigger part in the governmental process.
For a reform reference, Indonesia can look at Japan’s Keisatsu-chō. Formally, Polri has similar standings to the central government as Keisatsu-chō. In Indonesia, this is reiterated in Article 8 of Law No. 2 of 2002, which states that Polri is directly responsible under the President. Given the similarities between Polri and Keisatsu-chō, Polri can mimic the effectiveness of Keisatsu-chō without much fear of fragmentation between regional and national police.
Of course, that potential should be accompanied by cultivating social values and thorough research on uncorking police reform ideas. Therefore, examining the United States’ scholarly contributions to reform ideas and strategies would be helpful. Polri should not only be interested in serving justice but also be accompanied by social-empirical research. Social-empirical research could fill the gap in the justice-seeking approach with its holistic views, providing a more effective solution to a problem (Okabe, 2014). In addition, the social-empirical course stresses facts on the ground (Mezak, 2006).
Prior research suggests that a collaboration between the police and the citizens as the manifestation of NPS and collaborative governance values could bring many benefits (Li, 2017). Still, it can only be achieved if the police give enough space to foster people’s trust. The commitment of both sides, protection of trial witnesses, and good communications are critical factors in boosting people’s faith. Police should find effective and efficient communication means to facilitate and respond to criminal reports. According to Li, those factors are necessary to materialise a collaboration between the police and the citizens.
Polri needs to sort themselves out. The synergy between Polri and the central government, strategy formulation through a social-empirical approach, and accommodating people’s participation are some efforts to improve Polri’s quality and institutions. A profound realisation is needed to carry through police reform envisioned in what so-called 2045 “Golden” Vision.
Authors: Rafi Akmal Raharjo and Najma Alya Jasime (Intern)
Editor: M. Ihsan Nurhidayah
Illustrator: Alif Monica (Intern)
Translator: Aldi Haydar Mulia
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