Indonesian police savvy about social mediaPolice are using Facebook to increase public awareness about the law and cyber-crime, and to foster a closer relationship with citizens.
Indonesian law enforcement personnel are using social media to interact with citizens, and are also monitoring the use of online communication tools by criminal elements.
On May 16th, police hosted a Facebookers’ Meeting for followers of the National Police Facebook page, at the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta. The three-hour event was attended by approximately 100 people from various places including Jakarta, Bandung, and Jambi, Sumatra.
Launched in 2010, the National Police Facebook page has attracted more than 86,000 followers. The page contains important information for citizens: how to renew a vehicle registration, traffic conditions, traffic violations fine list, and the news on law enforcement operations.
Police are hoping to use social media to help citizens protect themselves amid an alarming growth of crime in cyberspace, officials said.
“We have been well aware that many criminals have been taking advantage of technological advances, including the growth of social media,” National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told the gathering.
“It is very concerning for us because there are many crimes occurring and starting in cyberspace,” he added.
“A young girl was kidnapped by her boyfriend that she met on Facebook. Another example of cyber-crime is an online shopping fraud,” he said.
Some people use Facebook specifically to commit crimes, he warned. “Therefore, it is very important for us to anticipate it together,” Boy said. “By establishing regular communication with civil society on social networks, we hope that we can minimise the number of criminal victims.”
Indonesian police receive at least 800,000 reports of cyber-crime annually, according to The Jakarta Globe, which cited Sutarman, chief of detectives for the National Police.
“Cyber-crimes are often related to other crimes like terrorism funding and communication between terrorism suspects. And the intensity of the cyber criminals is also alarming,” The Globe quoted him as saying.
Police used the gathering to raise awareness of Law No 11 of 2008 on Electronic Information and Transactions, Law No 22 of 2009 on the Mechanism of Vehicle Registration Licence Issuance and Renewal, and a 2008 law on Transparency of Public Information.
Top officials from the Jakarta Police (Polda Metro Jaya), representing the Traffic Directorate, the Division of Professionalism and Security, and the General Crimes Directorate, also addressed the group and fielded questions.
The primary issue raised by participants was extortion, which they said was practiced by some police officers, including traffic officers.
“If there is an officer who abused their position, society should report it to us. We would take serious action against them,” Hari Harnowo, a top official from the Division of Professionalism and Security (Propam), said in response.
Finding solutions together
One participant said he appreciated the chance to interact directly with police.
“This is a very good event because it gives us a chance to have a direct two-way communications with police,” Surbaini, a 50 year-old participant from Jambi, told Khabar Southeast Asia.
“In my opinion, we do not come here to blame police for the wrong doing that the police did. But we gathered here to talk about the issue and find a solution together,” he said.