Boosted cooperation with public vital to curb crime rate

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

LAW enforcers need to intensify its collaboration with members of the public to reduce the number of crimes in the sultanate, according to a Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) study.

Published earlier this year in Medwell’s Social Sciences Journal, the study said Brunei has been taking “a step in the right direction”, but more could be done to involve the community in fighting crimes.

The study by five UBD academics reviewed the present alternatives available in tackling crimes, including counselling and education.

The five authors were part of the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education’s Psychological Stu-dies and Human Development Academic Group.

They stated that the reduction of crimes is a complex and tedious task that requires “collective efforts and action”.

This includes the implementation and enforcement of laws in Brunei such as the Misuse of Drugs Act and the Syariah Penal Code, community efforts, counselling and religion.

“While these laws cannot be expected to stop all the targeted crimes, they have potential to suppress crime for the benefit of all people in the country,” the authors said.

Statistics up until 2014 showed that crimes have been increasing since 2011.

A total of 5,927 cases were reported in 2011, according to a report by the Department of Economic Planning and Development’s Brunei Darussalam: Key Indicators 2014 (half year)’ while its 2015 edition recorded 6,824 crimes reported to the Royal Brunei Police Force in 2014.

In relation to community efforts, the study said members of the public and security personnel are to play a more active role to help lower the crime rate.

“It is the duty of security person-nel and members of the public to report suspected criminals or crimes to the legal and justice institutions for action,” the authors said.

“The laws should be supported and given a chance to work for a safer Brunei,” the study said.

The authors also stated that “other non-counselling and non-psychological measures” should receive more attention and efforts.

“For example, former convicts will need help from family members, community/society and the government in seeking gainful employment or self-employment,” they said.

In reducing the recidivism rate, aid organisations such as non-governmental organisations, financial institutions and religious organisation could play a vital role.

“Evidence from the present study suggests that crime problems need to be confronted from different vantage positions. The multiple approaches Brunei is using seem to be realistic and working because it combines various strategies such as counselling, legal or judicial processes, religion and community efforts,” the study added.

The Brunei Times