National Police change security guard uniforms 'to ignite pride'

The National Police now require civilian security guards (Satpam) to wear brown uniforms with a rank badge in order to “honor the profession”, in a move an activist says creates the potential for abuse of power. National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis signed the regulation on private security guards (Pam Swakarsa) on Aug 5, stipulating the uniform change.

Private security guards, who previously wore white uniforms for day guards and navy blue uniforms for night guards, will be required to wear five kinds of brown uniform. “In accordance with National Police Chief Regulation No.

4/2020 on private security, there will be a change in the color of the guards’ uniforms,” National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Awi Setiyono told tempo.co on Monday.

The regulation also adds badges to the shoulder part of the uniform to display the officer’s rank. The badges will display white triangles for officers, red for managers and yellow for supervisors, with the number of triangles ranging from one to three depending on their rank. Awi said changing the uniform’s color to brown, similar to that of the police, was meant to symbolize “closeness” between private security officers and police officers.

“[This is to] honor the security guard profession and ignite their pride as those who carry out the limited function of the police,” he said. The regulation states that private security companies will have one year to implement the uniform change. Officers that violate the uniform provisions will receive a warning letter from the police and will have their license revoked if they are found to have violated the regulation three times.

Read also: Jokowi calls on National Police to uphold humanity, professionalism amid pandemic The title of the regulation is not to be confused with the Pam Swakarsa paramilitary security forces established by the Indonesian Military (TNI) in 1998 to break up demonstrations. The National Police’s new regulation on Pam Swakarsa only stipulates private security guards such as Satpam or the neighborhood watch (Siskamling).

Responding to the regulation, the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) raised concerns that security guards wearing similar uniforms to police officers might trigger abuse of power. “There will be groups thinking that as they are legitimized by the police, they feel as if they have more authority than regular citizens,” YLBHI chair Asfinawati told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. She further lambasted the move saying that the new uniform for private security guards was a tactic to strengthen the police’s legitimacy.

“Because they resemble the police and can even be more dangerous because they are indistinguishable.”

Asfinawati pointed out that the National Police chief’s regulation itself further risked abuse of power as it stipulated that the private security officers and other groups sanctioned by the police would possess partial police functions, allowing them to carry out public security activities.

She also raised concerns that the regulation would allow police to have a wider scope of authority with the private security groups as their extensions.

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