Often police will justify the shooting of the suspect because the suspect is suspected to have committed many crimes under investigation and was armed at the time of shooting.

Recently, there were cases of shooting between law enforcement officers and suspects in public places in the country. In such shootings, most often, suspects were killed.

Most often we also heard police will then come with statements that the suspects were armed and Police had to return fire from the suspects which ended killing the suspects. We often heard police often say the suspect is a dangerous criminal with guns and has many criminal records. Often police will justify the shooting of the suspect because the suspect is suspected to have committed many crimes under investigation and was armed at the time of shooting.

Our main concern is that if the suspect was a dangerous criminal on the run and is suspected to have committed many crimes and is a wanted person, what had the law enforcement done to detect and arrest him? Should the suspect be allowed to be on the run with dangerous weapons as public safety could be put at risk? Was the public informed of this dangerous suspect?

Law enforcement officers, especially the police are trained to deal with crisis situations when faced with armed suspects in public but the question that arises is that was it justified for law enforcement officers to return fire and to claim it was done in self defence in the circumstances?

I was asked to raise the matter of police shooting with suspects in the press because of public concern over public safety.

Had the law enforcement officers took all necessary steps to get the suspect to surrender before the shooting took place given the fact that shooting has to be avoided due to public safety?

Law enforcement officers especially the police are equipped with security equipments like bullet proof shields and jackets and police also have trained snippers who could shoot accurately at any target but, it became a public concern that suspects could not be subdued but been shot to death.

Public concern is that if there is a need to shoot, the shooting should not with the intention to cause death but to subdue the suspect.

The law should be enacted or amended to allow all shooting incidences between law enforcement officers and suspects be investigated by an independent body, but not by the law enforcement body itself, with power to bring the matter to court for inquiry, to determine the properity of the shooting because public needs to know whether the shoot to kill or shooting was justified in the circumstances.

It is only during an inquiry before court that who shoot first, whether the suspect was armed, has criminal records or is wanted for serious crimes and whether shooting in defence was justified in the circumstances.

Shooting should not be justified just because the suspect has criminal records because criminal records means the suspect by serving sentence has already paid for his crimes he committed.

Voon Lee Shan President Parti Bumi Kenyalang

17 January 2024

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