Retired Bukit Aman CID director Fauzi Shaari has advised the police force to cut back on certain departments, including the Special Branch (SB) and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), to assist the Crime Investigation Department (CID) in solving cases.
This, said Fauzi who joined PAS in May, is because the workload of CID has ballooned and it has affected the department's efficiency in fighting crime.
"The people responsible have to make the redeployment. As it is, the CID looks like it is unable to handle the workload because there are too many investigations (to be carried out).
"So why can't we cut back on units such as the FRU, field and marine police," he told Malaysiakini in an interview last Friday.
He said the FRU in particular could be downsized as they did not have to take on tasks that require them to open files, write official reports and do follow-up investigations.
According to 2011 statistics , 5,050 police personnel were in SB, while more than 32,656 were under national security and public order units including the FRU, and only 9,346 for CID.
The distribution of the police force has drawn flak from the opposition which argues that the deployment is not targeted at reducing the rising crime rate.
CID should have been doubled
Fauzi, who was once police chief for Selangor and Sarawak, explained that the responsibility of the CID was daunting and often time-consuming.
He said officers were burdened with various investigating procedures including searching for evidence and verifying it, recording statements and bringing witnesses to court, before a case could be closed.
"In the CID, if you succeed (in solving a crime), you are not only done with the case, but you can help prevent crime statistics from increasing.
"The people will then have a perception that the police force is effective and has succeeded (in doing their work)," he added.
Fauzi stressed that during his tenure as CID director from 2005 to 2006, he found that the department would need to double its staff to enable it to investigate crime cases in a timely and thorough fashion.
“For example, he (the investigating officer) can perform proper and effective investigation for only 10 cases, but during my time, (the workload) was 25 cases - more than double.”
SB still has a role to play
Commenting on opposition's claims that the SB has focused on tracking political dissidents so much so that it serves as an arm of the BN, Fauzi pointed out that its real job was to solicit information and intelligence.
"We have to appreciate that the SB is tasked with procuring intelligence mainly in the fields of politics and public order," he said.
But he questioned the high number of SB staff as the communist era was long over and racial tensions have lessened despite attempts by certain groups to drive a wedge among Malaysians.
"We have to admit that in the past, (the situation) was more serious and with more threats. But now, the people have changed a lot," he said.
However, he emphasised that any restructuring of the police force had to be backed by data.
"If we have clear facts, then we can argue and give recommendations (and say), okay, you can reduce (the number of SB personnel by) 15 percent, 20 percent or 50 percent."
"But we do not have the information. The police management is more knowledgeable on whether the current situation requires such (restructuring)," he explained in the interview in his bungalow in Shah Alam.
In his 32 years in the police force, Fauzi held various senior posts, including that of Sarawak police chief (2001-2003) and Selangor police chief (2004-2005).
He went on to head the CID at Bukit Aman in 2005 and retired the following year.
Part 1: Why men and women of the force fear BN