Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo will disarm the capital’s notoriously violent public order agency Satpol PP on Thursday, the governor announced on Wednesday.
Satpol PP, which is tasked with enforcing provincial regulations, has long been associated with strong-arm tactics and abuse.
“I will take them [the batons] tomorrow morning,” Joko told the Antara News Agency. “I want to meet with them directly.”
The move is part of a larger effort to nurture a kinder Satpol PP, Joko said, explaining that he hopes officers will be able to words, not violence to achieve results.
“I want Satpol PP officers to work in a more persuasive way,” he said. “[Being] strict does not mean violence. If there are people making a mistake, they should take strict action, but in a human way, instead of chasing or beating [the violators].”
The governor instituted a similar ban on Satpol PP weapons when he was mayor of Solo, Central Java. Joko confiscated the agency’s weapons and appointed a female chief to head the organization.
As a result, Joko became loved among the city’s street vendors, long victims of Satpol PP’s wrath.
The governor said he decided to take similar measures in Jakarta after hearing of complaints of violent crackdowns from the capital’s merchants.
It is unknown what will happen to Jakarta’s public order agency after they are disarmed.
“I will have to meet with them directly before coming up with the policy, but, for sure, Satpol PP in Jakarta will be treated differently than those in Solo.”
Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said 1,000 of the agency’s 6,000 officers will be moved to the Transportation Agency.
“They will manage the traffic,” Basuki said.
Jakarta Satpol PP chief Effendi Anas responded to the criticism, saying that since Joko became governor the agency has avoided using violence.
“We only use our uniform as a weapon now,” Effendi said. “No other weapons like knives or batons. They are all gone, there are no more [weapons].”