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Westports Auxiliary Port Police: Multi-Tasking Crime Busters Of Pulau Indah

5 OCTOBER 2011, PULAU INDAH - Residents of Pulau Indah in North Klang know exactly who to turn to when they are in trouble. Whatever the peril, the distress call will almost always go out to the Westports Port Police.

Established under the Police Act in 1994, the 196-strong force - one of the largest auxiliary police forces in the country - is entrusted with ensuring the security and safety of the port's premises.

The unit increasingly finds itself having to respond to a multitude of distress calls from islanders, and on numerous occasions, even from those living beyond its jurisdiction.

Unlike other auxiliary police units, the Westports Port Police also handles peak-hour traffic flow, fire fighting, first-responder emergency ambulance service, containment of hazardous materials (hazmat), and underwater rescue, as well as maintaining the depth and safety of the port's waterway.

The additional burden has not dampened their effectiveness in fulfilling their Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in crime prevention.

"Since its inception in 1994, the unit has managed to solve between 20 and 25 index-crime cases every year," South Klang OCPD, ACP Mohamad Mat Yusop told Bernama.

"Much to its credit, the Westports Port Police turned in an impressive index crime-solving rate of 90 percent in 2010."

An index crime is one that is reported with sufficient regularity that the Royal Malaysian police (PDRM) use them as a yardstick to measure the country's crime rate. Index crimes are divided into 2 categories: violent crime and property crime.

This remarkable performance earned the Westports Port Police a mandate from the South Klang Police to look after the security and safety of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).

The then Selangor Police Chief Tan Sri Ismail Omar (now IGP) even requested that the Head of Westports Port Police, Fire & Rescue, T.Tamil Selvan, brief the state's 22 OCPDs on how such vigorous law enforcement should be conducted.

Unique Features

The Westports Port Police is unique in that it is empowered to investigate, arrest, interrogate and prosecute criminals for offences committed in Pulau Indah. Officers can pursue the trail of evidence and make the arrest even though felons may have adsconded to distant locations.

No other port or auxiliary police unit has such extensive powers.

It is also the only port police organisation equipped with an online police reporting system (PRS) linking its command centre directly to PDRM headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.

The unit frequently holds briefings and seminars on port security procedures, and conducts trainings in evidence gathering; investigation, arrest and prosecution procedures. It even carries out mock trial sessions at its training centre in Pulau Indah.

These sessions are well attended by other Malaysian port police, auxiliary police units and port-related agencies.

Highly Trained Personnel

On numerous occasions Westports Port Police personnel have demonstrated their skills and dedication in providing the highest standard of service.

Surprisingly, according to (Maj Rtd) V. Manisegara, Westports Head of Corporate Services, some 90 percent of Westports' force had never been to a port before. They only learn the ropes at Westports itself.

"New employees are provided with comprehensive training suitable to their position before they are allowed to report for duty at their respective stations," he said.

With more than 25 years experience in the PDRM under his belt, Unit chief, T. Tamil Selvan is no stranger to law enforcement. He coordinates the training modules for the men and women under his charge. There are currently eight women on the force.

Instructors from PDRM, the fire brigade and the armed forces are regularly invited to conduct training sessions. Recruits are also sent for short stints to the PDRM and the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, where they gain invaluable firsthand experience that give them all-around competency.

New inductees undergo four-and-a-half months of in-house training at the West ports Port Police Training Centre. They then report to the PDRM's Training Centre (PULAPOL) in Kuala Lumpur for a nine-week intensive training programme, followed by a two-week internship at one of the departments within the PDRM.

Recruits face a further one-and-a-half months of vigorous drills in fire-fighting, hazmat management, emergency medical treatment; and rescues in high-rise buildings, confined areas, on ship, at sea and underwater -- conducted by personnel from the fire brigade, navy and the SMART team.

By the end of their training stint, every man and woman in the force stands prepared for and dedicated to early emergency response, recovery and prevention.

International Recognition

Westports is a member of the US Container Security Initiative and the Mega Port Initiative Compliance. Its Port Police are also trained in anti-terrorism and radioactive-detection techniques.

In recognition of these skills, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) have classified West ports as a Safe Port for U.S. warships to cast anchor.

In addition, after an independent audit conducted by two of its officers, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) certified Westports as compliant with the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) initiative.

This means that security measures at the Westports meet the requirement of the U.S. government. It is the fourth port within the Hutchinson Port Holdings (HPH) group of approximately 50 ports to have been audited under the C-TPAT programme.

CBP officers were impressed with the security measures in place and highlighted the nine Best Practices they saw at Westports in their report.

As a result of this report, the HPH group subsequently appointed (Maj Rtd) V. Manisegaran as Regional Security Officer to handle security matters at all of its ports in Asia, excepting China and Hong Kong.

With such a formidable reputation it comes as no surprise that the force has become an industry icon for other port and auxiliary police units in the country.

Highly Appreciated Service

To prevent crime and discourage undesirable behaviour, the Westports Port Police has placed 22 CCTVs at strategic "hot spots" around the island. The unit also conducts around-the-clock patrol of the four villages on the island.

"Vigilant policing keeps mischievous and belligerent behaviour - especially among local youth - at bay. The villagers highly appreciate this, as it makes them feel safe," Pulau Indah's Penghulu (Headman) Mohd Halil Selamat said.

Hairani Salip, who runs a grocery store on the island, has much for which to thank the Westports Port Police.

"Their timely response helped put out a fire at my house before it could do much damage," he said.

Klang's Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital Emergency Service Coordinator, Mohan Chitran also holds Westports Port Police in high regard.

"All of them are adept in emergency response and early treatment for trauma," he said.

"This is indispensable in the emergency medical services (EMS) business, and the synergistic partnership is a tremendous asset to the hospital."

The good people of Pulau Indah sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because they know that, come what may, the Westports Port Police will always be there for them.

If one is ever called upon to briefly describe the Westports Port Police, "Multi-tasking Crime Busters of Pulau Indah" sums it up quite nicely.

Source: Malaysia News