Jakarta. Years of counterterrorism efforts have apparently led to a backlash, which may further increase the public's distrust of police, a watchdog said on Saturday (01/07), after a series of attacks on officers.
Two policemen were stabbed after a night prayer at a mosque near the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Friday, in the apparent third terrorist attack against police in the past six weeks.
The assault has underscored concerns that militants are more and more determined to attack law enforcers and that officers have become an easy target, with terrorists seemingly intending to "openly wage a war" on them, Indonesia Police Watch chairman Neta S. Pane said in a statement.
"Police are no longer authoritative and respected," said Neta, calling Friday's attack a "dark gift for Police Day."
"This may be caused by police being too aggressive in executing terrorists in field operations in recent years. It turns out that terrorists are not afraid, and have instead become highly determined to implement the principle of 'nyawa dibayar nyawa' [a life for a life]."
Police have been cracking down on Islamic State-linked terrorist cells across the country, amid heightened deradicalization efforts by the government.
Neta said Friday's attack shows these moves have "totally failed," calling on police to conduct a thorough evaluation of their counterterrorism operations and to improve coordination, as failure in preventing further attacks may increase the public's distrust.
"Officers in the field may be traumatized and worried about [the possibility of] being attacked by terrorists. Thus, they might not be able to focus on carrying out their other duties," he said.
"Members of the public will be worried about the security system police have established. They will say: 'How can the police protect us if they cannot protect themselves at their own headquarters?'"
Last week, an officer was stabbed to death by two Islamic State-linked militants at a checkpoint of the North Sumatra Police headquarters in Medan.
A month earlier, two Islamic State-linked suicide bombers killed three policemen near a bus station in East Jakarta.