22 December 2011

Martial Arts Violence Continues, as the PNTL remains without any Community Police Engagement Strategies.


East Timor Legal News Source: Fundasaun Mahein, 21th December 2011 - “In regards to PSHT’s graduation, we PSHT had sent a letter to the PNTL and the State Sectary for Security to provide security for that event. However we had received no security guarantees from the PNTL, and the end result was confrontation and the death of one of our members.” (Mario Trinidade 20/12/2012 TVTL)

If Mr. Mario Trinidade’s statement is true, then Fundasaun Mahein is very concerned that despite the PNTL and SES being informed about the graduation of new senior PSHT members, no security arrangements were provided.

Fundasaun Mahein is concerned with Police attitudes and the eagerness to use para-military tactics, which includes the setting-up of road checkpoints once the conflict is over. The recurring use of para-military tactics does nothing in the way of conflict prevention and only exacerbates tensions to the point where they become national security threats.

Fundasaun Mahein is saddened by the PNTL’s tardy intervention allowing the confrontation of Martial Arts Groups (MAG), which resulted in the death of a man and the destruction of people’s properties and vehicles.

Fundasaun Mahein requests that the PNTL adopt detailed plans and strategies to deal with MAG conflict and suggests the use of Community Police engagement strategies. These in FMs view would be beneficial to conflict prevention.

As a result, Fundasaun Mahein recommends both the Government and the PNTL to:

(1) Create an effective community police unit, which engages daily with the community. The community police will be able to identify minor conflicts in the community and offer preventive resolutions as opposed to Special Police Operations that cause public panic.

(2) Ask the PNTL to adopt problem solving orientated strategies which identify the roots of the problems in the community and recommends appropriate solutions, thus reducing the high risks to the community.

(3) Develop police structures and management procedures. In order for police officers to listen and respond to community needs and priorities, they need to have structures which allow them to access the communities, and they need to have the operational flexibility to adjust activities based on local needs and priorities.

(4) Fundasaun Mahein recommends the National Parliament Committee B, which is in charge of Security Defence and Foreign Affairs to draft an Organic Law of Community Police, which would empower the Community Police to carry out more peaceful operations within the community.

If you would like more information on this topic please contact: Nelson Belo,Director Fundasaun Mahein www.fundasaunmahein.org Email: nelson@fundasaunmahein.org Tlp +670 737 4222
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