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A serious type of relation under scrutiny

May 14,2017 - Last updated at May 14,2017

Civilian-military relations are a challenge that must be grappled with.

Issues arising in this area need to be addressed in the early stages to avoid serious problems in the future.

It is an issue that needs to be confronted in Jordan as well.

Police forces have direct contact with citizens as representatives of the state. If police relations with civil society begins to turn negative, that will inevitably have a negative impact on the state itself. 

Recently there have been complaints about police and traffic police officers’ attitude towards citizenry.

Their behaviour, including the way they speak to people and the way they enforce law and order, must always be as professional and respectful as possible.

Implementing security plans such as control points and traffic stops should take into consideration the security of both the police and the people.

Procedures used in stopping cars and the location of inspection points need to be studied carefully in order to maximise the security of all involved and make people feel safe.

Respecting the dignity of citizens by applying these measures with respect is also essential in building positive relations between citizens and police. 

It is important to remember that in facing the terrorist challenges of today, citizens can play a key role, which can be encouraged by making people feel positive towards the entire security apparatus.

It was really shocking and sad to hear that a teenager died in police custody.

In order to uphold the authority of the police and security forces, such incidents should be minimised, and whether there are cultural issues within the police and security apparatus needs to come under scrutiny.

The heavy-handed implementation of traffic policing is feeding feelings of anger amongst the people.

The purpose of traffic policing is to disincentivise violations of the law and change behaviours and attitudes that put people’s life at risk.

It is more important to stop drivers that drive unsafely than fine illegal parking, especially when almost no information is provided about where or when the parking ticket was issued.

How is the system supposed to change behaviour if there is no information about where the violation occurred?

The more bureaucratic and ungainly the policing system becomes the less likely people are to engage with it in good faith.

If the police lose credibility and trust, Jordanians will be less likely to report threats and violations of the law.

By the same token, if engaging with the police involves inhibiting levels of bureaucracy and paperwork or procedures that do not engender trust, people will disengage and prefer not to have any contact with the police.

It is imperative to build positive and constructive relations between citizens and the police, but this can only happen if the police officers are engaging, approachable and respectful.

 

They are servants of the state and servants of the people. As Samuel Huntington so eloquently argued, the key is “military professionalism”.

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