Constabulary no place for bad cops


NATIONAL Capital District Metropolitan Superintendent Benjamin Turi has his hands full already.
The last thing he, and certainly other police station commanders around the country, want is an extra burden which can distract them from their core responsibility of  maintaining law and order.
It has now emerged, he says, that some police officers may be accepting bribes from criminal elements to be let off when caught.
It means suppressing illegal activities for a few kina slipped into an officer’s pocket. Not only cash but other paymentsx in kind for the officers.
The temptation for such corrupt activity has always existed given the nature of police work. The fear of being put away for a long time in prison makes the criminal desperate that he or she is willing to pay his or her way out of trouble.
The officer on the other hand (not all officers by the way) is prepared in some circumstances to look the other way in exchange for some monetary reward.
For Turi and others in such positions of command over men and women conducting the regular police rounds, keeping watch over such collusion between criminals and officers adds to challenge of reducing, even eradicating, serious crime in their jurisdictions.
It does not bode well for successful and rewarding police work and for any concerted campaign by society in general against crime when a police commander become too worried about his own charges that its diverts attention away from his daily routine.
Turi’s lack of trust in some officers is borne of years of police work in the city, first as a station commander in a major suburb, then as overall commander of the metropolitan police force.
From his years of police work in the city and from incidents involving his officers in the past, he has and would continue monitoring police officers under his command.
The city police made another interesting observation while speaking to journalists this week while commenting on crime, especially armed robberies. He says those involved in the recent spate of robberies in Port Moresby and Lae cities were not common criminals, who look shabby and dressed in tattered clothing, but ate smartly attired to appear as inconspicuous as possible to their unwary victims.
Turi’s counterpart in Lae, Anthony Wagambie Jr, following robberies over the past week weeks, believes that crimes appear to have been very well planned and executed by well-dressed men who raise no suspicion at all when entering targeted premises.
It is very likely that these are the most likely types of criminals to collude with policemen and even security personnel to execute their attack and escape after the act.
Publishing photos and details of known criminals at police stations is a right step in exposing these thugs. It will let everyone know of their identities and keep a lookout for them.
This would be handy because, as Turi says, a lot of known criminals were escorting “big people” and running around as body guards for politicians.
However, without making details of such known criminals or suspects known to police personnel and even the public, Turi’s comments could be brushed aside by some as mere speculation.
These persons may be wanted for questioning by police in relations to certain crimes but remain at large and are offered protection by “big people” in return for their services as body guards.
Turi makes no bones about how he wants to see such perceived complicity dealt with.
“I don’t care whether you are the minister of a public servant, I will arrest everybody.  If I happen to be at the roadblock and such happens, I will get everybody out of the vehicle,” he said.
If Turi’s fears that politicians and other well-to-do “big people” knowingly surround themselves with henchmen and escorts of questionable character, then he might be up against a formidable foe in the fight against crime.
It will add more to what is already a big challenge for him and his colleagues.
However, if Turi and other dedicated police commanders around the countries are supported by even a small circle of equally determined men and women, they can stand up to the challenge.
The battle against crime can only be won by a unified and single-minded police force backed by the public.
Police personnel who are in there for a different agenda are a hindrance to good and responsible policing. They have no place in the constabulary.
They deserve to end up in the prison cell with those they are trying to protect.

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