Authority and law enforcement : local government and security systems in Indonesia

TitleAuthority and law enforcement : local government and security systems in Indonesia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsKristiansen S, Trijono L
JournalContemporary Southeast Asia, ISSN 0129-797X
Date Published06-09-07
Call NumberTA 4390
Keywordsadministrative reforms, decentralization, Excerpta Indonesica, INDONESIA, Law enforcement, Public administration, security

The far-reaching decentralization and deregulation reforms implemented in Indonesia since 2001, which were intended to decrease central government spending on public service delivery and to increase the responsibilities of regional and local governments, have also had repercussions on issues of security and law enforcement. This article presents a survey of these issues, conducted among 538 households in four districts: Bantul (Yogyakarta), Mataram (Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara), Kutai Kartanegara (Kalimantan Timur), Ngada (Flores, Nusa Tenggara Timur), using questionnaires, interviews, and focus group discussions. After a brief overview of the history of criminality in Indonesia, a discussion of the new decentralization laws and their implementation, and a section on methodology, the authors discuss the results of the survey. Increasing crime levels (particularly burglary, gambling, prostitution, and alcohol and drugs abuse) is a significant concern in 3 out of the 4 districts. The national police force has a limited responsibility for law enforcement at the local level; on the other hand, paramilitary groups (Satpol PP) have rapidly expanded under the authority of the district heads (bupati). This development gives cause for concern, as people turn out to be afraid of the Satpol PP units and their non-transparent systems of surveillance and repression. The authors argue that this trend to allow untrained and unaccountable civilians to provide protection, fight crime, and implement laws and regulations could well grow out of control and should be reversed.