Indonesia’s National Police has said that it will support the government’s new policy on large-scale social restrictions by tightening the measures to combat COVID-19.
Several measurements have also been earlier taken by the police before the new policy comes officially into effect.
For instance, the police said that 18 people were arrested in Jakarta for ignoring social-distancing measures. However, no charge was pressed against them.
“We will give three warnings against public gatherings. After the warnings, we will disperse the gathering. Anyone caught ignoring both measures will be immediately taken to the police station,” said National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono in a press conference on Monday (6 April).
He added that the Indonesian National Police has dispersed 10,873 gatherings nationwide so far.
Meanwhile, 3,000 people in East Java were reported to have received warnings from the local police. It was said that the warnings were for disobeying the government’s measures, and all these people have signed a statement to comply with social-distancing orders.
Mr. Argo emphasised, “We are still using a friendly approach. However, we will take stricter measures if necessary.”
On Tuesday (7 April), the Indonesian National Police chief Gen. Idham Aziz also issued a set of instructions to his subordinates, following the issuance of a presidential decree on public health emergency concerning COVID-19.
His orders include the instructions to; not disturb economy activities, preventing the plan for mass gathering, and to advice the community not to return to their hometown (mudik) for Hari Raya.
However, the National Police did not elaborate if there is a sanction for employers who refuse to follow the work-from home policy.
The head of the National Police’s criminal investigation department, Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo told Jakarta Post, that the police has referred to the Health Ministry’s regulation on social restrictions, which still allowed businesses to open as long as they obey the COVID-19 protocols and physical distancing.
According to Article 13 of Health Ministerial Decree Number 9 of 2020, some businesses are exempted from implementation of work-from-home policy.
These businesses, such as security and defense, food and beverage, health, economic and finance related services, and other companies providing basic needs, are allowed to do their day-to-day operation, even if the work can be done from home.
Separately, Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) chairperson Asfinawati voiced a rather contradicting opinion. She criticized the arrest done by police and warned the government to not scare people with the police.
She added that the measures would not encourage people to stay at home as they need to be assured that they will not lose their income.
Senior police officer conducted a wedding reception
Last week, a photo of wedding reception held by former Kembangan Police chief Comr. Fahrul Sudiana at a luxury hotel on 21 March caught the attention of netizens.
Additionally, photos of the National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Gatot Eddy Pramono attending the same wedding were also found on social media.
Two days after this event, the National Police issued an edict to prohibit mass gatherings in the country.
The National Police Commission said to Kompas, “All police personnel who attended the event must be questioned by internal affairs.”
It was reported that Mr Fahrul was subsequently demoted but he did not face any charge. This resulted with heavy criticism from netizens. On the other hand, there is announcement whether punishment has been meted out to Mr Gatot, who also attended the reception.