Neighbourhood Watch groups reminded to follow guidelines
NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch (NW) groups should always adhere to the guidelines provided by authorities when conducting operations, a senior police officer said.
In an interview with The Brunei Times recently, the Assistant Commanding Officer of the Muara Police Station, Inspector Nur Adiba Mohamad, stressed that although NW plays an important role in aiding the police in combating crime, they still have limits to what they can or cannot do.
“For example, if the NW happens to detain a suspect, they must not cause bodily harm or cause humiliation towards that individual,” she said.
According to a guidebook that was shown to The Brunei Times, NW could also not enter people’s houses with the intent of conducting an investigation without the presence of any Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) personnel.
Members of the NW are also not allowed to perform body checks to any individual with the intent of obtaining personal documents such as personal identification cards or passports.
Performing investigations on boats or any type of water vehicles and conducting road blocks are also not allowed.
Inspector Nur Adiba said that it is crucial for NW members to familiarize with the do’s and don’t’s that are stated in the guidebook, as they can conduct operations even without the presence of the RBPF.
She said that should the members of the NW detain a suspected criminal during their independent operation, the suspect must be submitted to the local authorities.
Aside from the RBAF, they can hand the suspect to the Narcotics Bureau, the Royal Customs and Excise Department and the Immigration and National Registration Department, depending on the violations committed, she said.
The assistant commanding officer said that NW members are thoroughly scrutinised by the RBPF to ensure they are suitable to the job, with the number being limited to twenty per NW group.
“We make sure to check all their backgrounds and that none of them have any criminal records,” she said.
“The role that they (NW) play is very big. These villagers are the only ones who truly know what’s happening in their village, including illegal activities,” she added.
The Brunei Times