Dynamics of Indonesian Police Shootings, 2004-2015

Jacqui Baker

Murdoch University, Australia

Jokowi’s first presidential term was marked by open presidential exhortations to shoot narcotics suspects on sight, leading to spikes in lethal police shootings. While Jokowi’s penal populism led to much media attention, including accusations of a Duterte-style war on drugs, sound analyses of contemporary patterns of police shootings are impeded by a lack of research on earlier police violence. This paper seeks, at least partially, to illuminate these dynamics. By drawing on over 8000 incidents of police shootings from 2004-2015 identified through the Indonesian government’s National Violence Monitoring System (NVMS), we present a detailed map of regional and sub-regional patterns of police shooting. We build on a unique set of indicators established by Kreuzer (2018) to measure the magnitude and lethality of Indonesian police shootings in relation to the threat environment. In general, we found that Indonesia’s police shooting was weakly associated with the environmental threat level. Spatial and temporal comparisons show that while Indonesian police, comparatively speaking, shoot to injure rather than to execute, this violence should be understood within a wider framework of police torture.


Dr Jacqui Baker is a Lecturer in Southeast Asian Politics at Murdoch University. She researches the politics of policing and political economy approaches to the study of Indonesia. Jacqui is also working with the Indonesian Anti-Corruption Commission to map corrupt networks in the forestry sector using Social Network Analysis.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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