How does an authoritarian state reform its police force following a transition to democracy? In 1998, Indonesia, the third largest country in the world, faced just such a challenge. Policing had long been managed under the jurisdiction of the military, as an instrument of the Suharto regime – and with Suharto abruptly removed from office, this was about to change. Here we see how it changed, and how far these changes were for the better.
Based on direct observations by a scholar who was involved in the last days of the New Order and who saw how the police responded to regime change, this book examines the police, the new regime, and how the police was disassociated from the military in Indonesia. Providing a comprehensive historical overview of the position of police in this change of regime, the book focuses on two key areas: the differences between local and national levels, and the politicisation associated with decentralisation. Arguing that the disassociation of the Indonesian National Police from the military has achieved only limited success, the book contends that there is continued impetus for the establishment of a professional police force and modern and democratic policing, which will entail effective public control of the police.
A pioneering study of the police in Indonesia, examining key issues in the post-Suharto era, this book will be of interest to scholars of Southeast Asian politics and of policing and politics in the developing world.