He said that in undergoing the transformation, the force would need to have a complete change of mindset, very strong ethical balance, strict enforcement, as well as strong and effective leadership at all levels.
“We have to be attuned with the changing needs of the people and society.
We”re in uniform because we want to protect our citizens, and it”s not only about a mere profession.
"It”s also rising to the challenge of having to operate a police force in modern times amid a more educated society that demands high standards, aware of their rights.
"Therefore as a police force, we have to transform ourselves,” he said in his speech at the International Conference on Principled Policing: Rule Of Law, Public Order and Sustainable Development here, today.
Representatives from 15 countries are taking part in the two-day conference organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli).
Najib said that the political transformation introduced by the government saw the government deciding to, among others, do away with outdated laws and replacing them with new sets of laws, in tune with current needs.
He said this would demand a higher level of professionalism, including in areas of gathering evidence and investigation process.
Najib said for the police to emerge with enhanced reputation, the key operative word was trust — that is gaining the trust of the people.
He said that police personnel should relentlessly continue their on-going efforts to uphold the law and not be demoralised by criticism against them.
Najib observed that although the survey on public satisfaction with the local police force showed confidence rising to 70.5 per cent in December last year from 55 per cent in May, the effort must not stop there.
"This is about a journey to convince the people...eventually, I believe that the vast majority will feel that Malaysia is a safe place and this is what we want to achieve,” he said.
Citing his experience in Chinatown, New York, Najib said Malaysia could emulate methods used by the New York police in gaining public trust and confidence.
He said that police omnipresence in the area had contributed towards enhancing public confidence and making the streets safer.
“If it can be done in New York, it can be done in Kuala Lumpur,” Najib added.