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Law enforcement in Indonesia

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Law enforcement in Indonesia

Indonesian National Police
Kepolisian Negara Republik Indonesia
Abbreviation POLRI
Logo of Indonesian National Police
Motto Rastra Sewakhottama
People's Main Servant
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Legal jurisdiction National
General nature
  • Law enforcement
  • Local civilian police
Operational structure
Headquarters Jakarta, Indonesia
Agency executive General Sutarman, Chief of Indonesian National Police

The Indonesian National Police (Indonesian: Kepolisian Negara Republik Indonesia) is the official police force for Indonesia. It had formerly been a part of the Tentara Nasional Indonesia. The police were formally separated from the military in April 1999, a process which was formally completed in July 2000.[1] With 150,000 personnel, the police form a much smaller portion of the population than in most nations. The total number of national and local police in 2006 was approximately 470,000.

The strength of the Indonesian National Police stood at approximately 285,000 in 2004. The national police force was formally separated as a branch of the armed forces and placed under the Office of the President in 1999. It also includes 12,000 marine police and an estimated 40,000 People’s Security (Kamra) trainees who serve as a police auxiliary and report for three weeks of basic training each year.

The headquarters, known as Markas Besar/Mabes in Indonesian, is located in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, Indonesia.


When large parts of Indonesia was under Dutch colonial occupation until 1940s, police duties were performed by either military establishments or colonial police known as the veldpolitie or the field police. Japanese occupation during WW II brought changes when the Japanese formed various armed organizations to support their war. This had led to the distribution of weapons to military trained youths, which were largely confiscated from the Dutch armory.

After the Japanese occupation, the national police became an armed organization. The Indonesian police was established in 1946, and its units fought in the Indonesian National Revolution against the invading Dutch forces. The police also participated in suppressing the 1948 communist revolt in Madiun. In 1966, the police was brought under the control of Armed Forces Chief. Following the proclamation of independence, the police played a vital role when they actively supported the people’s movement to dismantle the Japanese army, and to strengthen the defense of the newly created Republic of Indonesia. The police were not combatants who were required to surrender their weapons to the Allied Forces. During the revolution of independence, the police gradually formed into what is now known as Kepolisian Negara Republik Indonesia (Polri) or the Indonesian National Police. In 2000, the police force officially regained its independence and now is separate from the military.

Service Branches of the Indonesian National Police

Mobile Brigade

The Mobile Brigade (Indonesia) Police force of Indonesia is the elite force of the Indonesian Police Force which is usually referred as the special force for the Indonesian Police, it is a more special force for dealing in paramilitary and other kinds of conflicts which normal Police can't take action against it.

Detachment 88

The Detachment 88 or in Indonesian language known as Densus 88 is a special force of the Indonesian armed forces in dealing with terrorism

Traffic Police

The Traffic Police or in Indonesian language known as Polisi Lalulintas is a police service which have specialty in duty for directing, controlling, and to take action in traffic situations in the streets, roads, and highway.

Indonesian Coast and Sea Guarding Police Force

The Indonesian Coast and Sea Guarding Police Force or in Indonesian language known as Polisi Perairan is a police force in Indonesia which guards and secures the sea and coast of Indonesia.


Sabhara or Samapta is the most public Police force in Indonesia which has duties to law enforce, and to protect and serve.


The PHH is an abbreviation to Polisi Huru-Hara, this police force is known as the Riot Police of Indonesia.

Tourism Police

The tourism Police or in Indonesian language known as Polisi Turis is a police service for tourist purposes.

Railway Police

The railway police in Indonesian is known as POLSUSKA which is an abbreviation to Polisi Khusus Kereta Api meaning Police for Train and Railway service. This police force usually guards inside Trains and train stations.

Vital Object Protection of Indonesian National Police

The Vital Object Protection of Indonesian National Police is an Indonesian police force for vital protection and usually secures international embassies in Indonesia. It is known in Indonesian as Polisi Kedutaan

Airport Police

The Airport Police or known as in Indonesian Polisi Bandara is a police service which law enforce in Airports of the country


Is a special Police Force of Indonesia which has the ability to deal with explosives and bombings that would attack the public.


Is an interior Police force which works in the headquarters of the Indonesian Police force, its main duty is to investigate criminal activity and crime identification


Chief of Police (Kapolri)

  1. General R Said Soekanto Tjokrodiatmodjo (29 Sept 1945-14 Dec 1959)
  2. General Soekarno Djojonegoro (15 December 1959-29 December 1963)
  3. General Soetjipto Danoekoesoemo (30 December 1963-8 May 1965)
  4. General Soetjipto Joedodihardjo (9 May 1965-8 May 1968)
  5. General Hoegeng Imam Santoso (9 May 1968-2 October 1971)
  6. General Moch. Hasan (3 October 1971 – 1974)
  7. General Widodo Budidharmo (1974-25 September 1978)
  8. General Awaluddin Djamin (26 September 1978 – 1982)
  9. General Anton Soedjarwo (1982–1986)
  10. General Mochammad Sanoesi (1986-19 February 1991)
  11. General Kunarto (20 February 1991-April 1993)
  12. General Banurusman Astrosemitro (April 1993-March 1996)
  13. General Dibyo Widodo (March 1996-28 June 1998)
  14. General Roesmanhadi (29 June 1998-3 January 2000)
  15. General Roesdihardjo (4 January 2000-22 September 2000)
  16. General Suroyo Bimantoro (23 September 2000-28 November 2001)
  17. General Da'i Bachtiar (29 November 2001-7 July 2005)
  18. General Sutanto (8 July 2005-30 September 2008)
  19. General Bambang Hendarso Danuri (30 September 2008-October 2010)
  20. General Timur Pradopo (October 2010-25 October 2013)
  21. General Sutarman (25 October 2013- ...)[2][3]


Polri is a centralised national bureaucracy.[4] As a national agency it has a large central headquarters in Jakarta (Markas Besar Polri or Mabes Polri). The regional police organisation parallels exactly the hierarchy of the Indonesian civic administration, with provincial police commands (Polisi Daerah or Polda) to cover provinces, district commands (Polisi Resor or Polres) for districts, sub-district commands (Polsek) and community police officers or Polmas to service individual villages.[5]

There is a similar law enforcement force in Indonesia that shares similar duties for the country with the Indonesian National Police, the law enforcement is known as Civil Service Police Unit or known in the Indonesian Language as Satpol PP

There are confusing terminological differences between some police commands. This derives from certain normative features of Indonesian governance. Indonesian political culture elevates the capital district (ibukota propinsi) of a province from other districts in the same province, though all have the same functional powers. Similarly, the capital province of the country (Jakarta), enjoys special normative status over other provinces – though in practice all have the same governmental responsibilities. The Indonesian police structure continues this by creating a special command for the province of Jakarta (Polda Metro Jaya), and special commands for capital city districts and cities (Polisi Kota Besar or Poltabes). Nevertheless, all of Indonesia’s police district commands (whether they are a Polres or Poltabes) and all the provincial commands (whether it is the flagship Polda Metro Jaya or one of the other Poldas) have the same powers and duties.[6]

As an additional complication, super large provinces like East, West and Central Java have intermediary coordinating commands (Polisi Wilayah or Polwil) designed to enhance coordination between provincial commands and districts (to illustrate, Polda Jawa Barat in West Java has no less than 29 district commands – a major challenge for command and control). However Polri has a stated commitment to dismantle these Polwil in the near future.[7]

Internal police culture is doctrinaire and hierarchical, and the organisation reflects this.[8] The design and duties of Poldas and Polres are determined by central edict.[9] Current standing orders determine that all provincial police are divided into three streams A1 (Polda Metro Jaya), B1 (demographically large provinces like East, Central and West Java) and B2 (smaller provinces like Yogyakarta, or West Kalimantan).[10] The structure of these Poldas is more or less the same, with each possessing: a directorate of detectives, narcotics, traffic police, intelligence, specialist operational units (such as Brimob – the paramilitary police strikeforce, water police, and other units), as well as support detachments like the provosts, Binamitra (social relations police), etc.[11] What truly differentiates Poldas is their resource base. Within Polri a tripartite matrix is applied to allocate personnel, money and equipment. This matrix is based upon a provinces’ square area, population size and reported crime rate. The same matrix is also applied to divide resources between Polres.[12] Turning to examine the Polres, the Polres is in essence the backbone of the Indonesian police – it bridges the purely operational units (Polsek), with the higher planning/strategic elements of the structure (the Polda). In the Indonesian police a Polres is termed the Komando Satuan Dasar (or Basic Unit of Command); this means that a Polres has substantial autonomy to implement its own activities and mount its own operations.[13] Regarding the structure of a Polres, a Polres is in effect a scaled down version of a Polda. Below is a cross-section of an average B1 level Polres (discreetly termed Polres A), in the province of Yogyakarta. This data derives from a recent PhD dissertation.[14] Polres A has fourteen separate detachments. Seven of these detachments can be described as support elements. These support elements consist of: an Operations Planning Section, a Community Policing Section, an Administration Section (providing human resource management, training coordination, etc.), a Telecommunications detachment (providing communications support), a Unit P3D (provosts - or the police who police the police), a Police Service Centre (for coordinating requests from the public), a Medical Support Group and the Polres Secretariat. Based on 2007 data, these support areas were staffed by 139 personnel. The largest support unit was the Polres Service Centre, with fifty one police. These seven support elements back up the work of Polres A’s seven other operational units (or Opsnal in Polri terminology) as well as the nineteen sub-district police precincts in this particular district.[15]

The Opsnal and sub-district commands execute Polri’s operational tasks. Polres A has one Traffic Police Unit, one Vital/Strategic Object Protection Unit, one Police Patrol Unit, one Narcotics Investigation Unit, one Detective Unit, a special tourist protection taskforce and a Police Intelligence Unit. These detachments have a combined strength of 487 personnel. The largest numbers are in the patrol unit (178) and the traffic unit (143). Added to the Opsnal personnel at the Polres headquarters are 1288 other police in nineteen sub-district Polseks. In 2007 this gave Polres A a police-to-population ratio of around 1 police officer to 526 civilians.[16] Thus the Polres has a relatively large number of personnel, split across a breadth of operational roles, with a teeth-to-tail ratio between operational versus support personnel that is surprisingly high.

The allocation of the budget in Polres A is also illuminating for determining where police priorities are. In 2007, Polres A had a planned budget of Rp.62.358 billion ($US 5,668,909). Of this Rp.56 billion or 90% was spent on wages and office expenses. Thus, as with most organisations, personnel costs absorb the lion’s share of resources. In terms of the operational budget some Rp.4 billion or 6% was spent on daily activities and special operations. The remaining 4% was divided between community policing, intelligence gathering and criminal investigation.[17] Perhaps unsurprisingly then, resource shortages within the budget ensure little official money is directed to supporting operations.


The standard issue sidearm to all Indonesian National Police officers is the Taurus Model 82 revolver in .38 Special while policemen works for special units such as Detachment 88 or the Mobile Brigade are issued with the Glock 17 semi-auto pistol.

Heavy arms are always available to the Indonesian police officers, such as the Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns、 Remington 870 shotguns 、Steyr AUG assault rifles、M4 carbine or other weapons.

Ranks of Indonesian National Police

In the early years, the Polri used European police style ranks like inspector and commissioner. When the police were amalgamated with the military structure during the 1960s, the ranks changed to a military style such as Captain, Major and Colonel. In the year 2000, when the Polri conducted the transition to a fully independent force out of the armed forces 2000, they use British style police ranks like Inspector and Superintendent. The Polri have returned to Dutch style ranks just like in the early years.


The National Police Force of Indonesia had changes for uniform colors about 3 times, the periods are:

    • Since first formed until late 70s, the uniform color was Khaki
    • Since the early 80s until mid 90s, the uniform color was Light Chocolate Brown and Dark Chocolate Brown
    • Since mid 90s until now the color are, Brownish Grey and Dark Brown

See also


Further reading

  • Amnesty International. (2009) "Indonesia: Unfinished Business: Police Accountability in Indonesia" (24 June 2009)
  • International Crisis Group. (2001) Indonesia : National Police reform. Jakarta / Brussels : International Crisis Group. ICG Asia report; no.13
  • David Jansen. (2008) 'Relations among security and law enforcement institutions in Indonesia', Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol.30, No.3, 429-54
  • ‘Networked Security in Indonesia: The Case of the Police in Yogyakarta.’ Doctoral Dissertation, Australian National University (April 2010).

External links

  • Outside Indonesia view
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