Budget cut in war against crime

Editorial

LAWLESSNESS is said to be on the rise in this country with many people and groups working overtime to deal with it.
Everyone – the churches, non-governmental organisations, donor agencies and our friends from around the world – are coming together to help address this issue.
Their help though can only go so far, and when that line is reached someone has to shoulder the load of continuing the fight of making Papua New Guinea a better place for our children and those who follow.
A safer Papua New Guinea can offer so much to our people and the country, for crime continues to be a major obstacle to investment and business.
While we are seeing improvements in some areas, in other areas there is not much light at the end of the tunnel.
We accept the need for far-reaching social intervention to correct problems – much of which flow from poor parenting, compounded by the failure of the state to address poverty, public indiscipline, and delinquency over a period of many years.
We have to understand, though, that just as social problems took years to fester and become open sores, social intervention will not show results overnight, and social interventions cannot prosper in a community environment where the law is impotent and criminals thrive.
For social intervention to sustainably work, for people to go about their business freely and without fear, for children to go to school unmolested and without being lured by criminals, law and order must prevail.
To that end, from short-term to as long as necessary, police must take control of communities which have become hotbeds of crime, where criminals have no respect for anyone.
But how can they do that when the national Budget tabled in the Parliament on Tuesday failed to recognise the enormity of their task and instead gives them a budgetary allocation that shows no respect for the challenges in front of them.
The efforts of Commissioner Gari and his commanders in addressing law and order must be commended, especially when their resources are so limited.
Police and its line agencies have put in place various programmes to promote law and order but how far can they push those programmes through if they do not have the money to do it.
When we have leaders who have the vision to make a difference, the government should support them with the proper logistical and funding back-up they need.
Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker has said that when businesses are asked what their major impediments are, law and order is usually high on the list.
Violent crime is a huge problem in this country.
Not only does it affect investment and business, it also affects people’s personal liberty and gives this country a bad name internationally.
Any place can be transformed if the law-and-order issues are addressed to create an environment which can become conducive to business and service delivery.
Maintaining peace and harmony in the city is not an easy task but it can be done through our collective efforts as individuals, institutions, businesshouses, police and politicians.
While we do not want to become a police state, improving police presence in the communities can bring positive changes that can benefit everyone.
But to get there, police need money – which they didn’t get this week.

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