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The reason some victims don’t lodge police reports

 | September 13, 2017

Some are given the runaround, told to lodge double reports or instructed to leave out pertinent details in the case being reported.

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It is generally accepted that when you see a crime being committed, or if you are the victim of a criminal act, it is your responsibility to report it, to trigger a detailed police investigation.

Although many people would like to seek justice, they are reluctant to lodge a police report. Simply because making one is as stressful as the crime itself.

A lot of time is spent at the police station, and one is sent from pillar to post, so in the end, one just gives up. Others claim that speaking to the press to highlight a criminal act, is more productive.

Readers will recall the nasty incident on August 27, when the co-founder of CAGED, Thomas Fann, was punched by an express bus driver for lodging a safety-related complaint.

Fann was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru, but at a traffic light in Jalan Sungei Ujong in Seremban, he found that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Concerned for the safety of everyone on the bus and other road users, Fann phoned the bus company to request a change of driver before continuing the journey.

Furious that a complaint had been lodged against him, the driver struck Fann in the face, which led to him disembarking from the bus to make his own way to Johor Bahru, where he lodged a police report about the incident.

Fann spent two hours filing this report, but the investigating officer (IO) insisted he also travel back to Seremban, 272 km away, to give his statement to the police there because this was where the incident had occurred.

At Seremban, the IO told Fann that he had to undergo a medical examination at Hospital Tuanku Jaafar Seremban, although he had been examined by doctors at Hospital Sultan Aminah (HSA) in Johor Bahru, the day he was attacked.

Despite his objections, the IO was adamant and Fann spent another seven hours waiting to be seen by a doctor at the Seremban hospital.

That was not the end of his ordeal, as he had to return to the police station to sign every page of his statement.

Fann had left Johor Bahru at 7am that morning, and did not arrive back home until midnight.

The next morning he had to give his statement at the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) in Johor Bahru, and relate all over again, the incident that occurred on his bus journey.

Fann said, “Seeking justice is a process, and in our country, it can be an uphill task. Sometimes it is a long and costly process. There are no guarantees that you will get justice, but if you don’t try, injustices will continue to reign and we will become an accomplice because of our inaction.”

Fann is determined to pursue justice, to ensure that the safety of travellers is not put at risk by irresponsible bus drivers and operators.

A few years ago, when a friend’s handbag was snatched, she was told to lodge two police reports. The first brief report had to be made at the police station which covered her area of residence, or where the theft had occurred. The second detailed report had to be made with ‘Team A’ at the police headquarters, opposite the Ipoh railway station.

Why the need for two reports? Victims are already traumatised and do the police have to add to the trauma?

If people are hesitant to lodge police reports, there is the likelihood that the statistics of crime for a particular area, will be erroneously low. This may also explain why there is a low crime index in some areas, despite the experience of the community.

So, what is your experience of lodging police reports?

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


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