PETALING JAYA, 26 May 2010: Police officers are entitled to kill or injure innocent persons as long as they genuinely believe lives are in danger, said the Home Ministry.
Click thumbnail to read ministry’s letterIn a letter to The Nut Graph dated 17 May 2010, the ministry said: “Although police officers’ actions may result in death or injury to innocent persons or are not fully sanctioned under the law, they would still be entitled to act. This is on the condition that their intentions are sincere and they genuinely believe that their lives or the lives of those they are protecting are in danger.”
The letter was signed by Habsah Md Sidek from the ministry’s public security and order division on behalf of the ministry secretary-general.
The ministry added that police officers were fully trained and exposed in the use of, and circumstances in which, they could discharge their firearms. This included the aspect of self-defence.
While the ministry’s response provided more information than its previous communication with The Nut Graph, the response however made no mention of the Inspector-General Standing Orders (IGSO) on the use of firearms. Instead it only referred to provisions under the Penal Code.
Unlike the Penal Code, however, which applies generally to anyone acting in self-defence, the IGSO applies specifically to the police. Information about IGSO, however, has not been forthcoming.
IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan
(© Rizuan | Wiki Commons)The ministry’s 17 May letter was its second response to The Nut Graph‘s letter dated 3 Mar 2010, which requested for a copy of the written guidelines on the use of firearms by police. The ministry had earlier responded in a letter dated 30 March 2010 which merely referred The Nut Graph to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
The ministry’s most recent letter actually sets out some guidelines on when police may act in self-defence. “Police officers have the right to defend themselves to the extent of causing the death of an assailant as set out in the Penal Code (Act 574),” the letter stated.
It went on to cite examples of circumstances in which a police officer may kill in self-defence such as:-
a If a person is attacked in circumstances where there is reasonable apprehension that death or grievous hurt would occur as a result of the assault;
b To save a woman from an assault where the attacker intends to rape; and
c To save someone from an assault where kidnapping or abduction is intended.
The Nut Graph was informed in March by Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah that the police shooting guidelines were part of an internal document, “not meant to be circulated in public”.
This was after Norizan Salleh‘s case was highlighted by the media. Norizan was shot at and allegedly assaulted by police, and survived.
Click thumbnail to read The Nut Graph‘s letterFollowing the public outcry over the fatal police shooting of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah, however, IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan reportedly said he had no reservations making the IGSO public. He added, however, that it was up to the special panel monitoring the investigations into Aminulrasyid’s case to decide whether to release them.
The Nut Graph wrote to the IGP on 28 Apr 2010 requesting for a copy of the written guidelines on police use of firearms. No reply has been forthcoming to date.
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