Lack of police manpower just does not make sense


This is in response to Police facing uphill battle against crime (The National, Sept 29).
I acknowledge your admissions and accept your rationality that police have a lack of manpower, but the conclusion that some are on suspension and some are on leave while the rest are working in specialised areas is unjustifiable because:

  • Those on suspension, especially from records within your Internal Affairs Directorate numbers only a handful the NCD command area;
  • the administrative practice of endorsing leave to an employee would be taken against the condition that there is the availability of some other personnel who would replace the officer on leave;
  • even if you are a police officer working in a specialised area, that does not exempt you from performing your duties when in the “course of your employment” you come across an illegal act (I have witnessed that police officers in uniform attached to specialist divisions such as forensics or communications just turn a blind eye to statutory crimes because they have the wrong mentality that it is not their duty because they are attached to those specialised area); and,
  • even after so many arguable propositions, at the end of the day you took an oath to protect and serve.
    If, as you say, there are “five or six police personnel” in one shift rostered for duty around each station in the NCD, with the knowledge that there are three shifts in a day, and there are 8+1 traffic police stations around the NCD.

There would be only 135 police personnel doing their duties following the real RPNGC oaths that they took, leaving the other 265 excluding those few who are on leave and suspension doing duties of administrative or office jobs.
Realistically, that is quite contrary to international standards of police management protocols, especially in high-crime rate nations, because there should be more police officers on the ground doing shift work than those siting idling in air-conditioned offices doing administrative duties.
If you recall in my last letter, I implied and inferred that there was a lack of proper police management.
I now emphasise that there is a lack of clear administrative mal-administration in the police hierarchy because there should be a system in place where police officers doing administrative duties should be rostered to do shift duties one week in a fortnight.
Again, the problem is a continuance of a very deep problem which I might add to another letter, but if police officers are just present at the Gordon Market area, there would be some semblance of police presence which even the public would accept and respect.
If police officers where to initiate the first course of action to prevent a crime, I can tell you with certainty that the public will work in conjunction with that officer to rid their society of the vermin that bring fear to  activities at the Gordon area.
This brings me to your second conclusion that everyone has the power to arrest. That is a legislative fact substantiated by the Arrest Act but you must understand that the common man is not a trained, disciplined personnel and it is very unwise to encourage untrained citizens who have never been to a police academy to take on a criminal without the sincere consideration of their health and safety.
It is in this light, that we must understand that the laws of society dictate that a society will rid itself of an imminent threat if faced with such a threat in any way possible. You stated that “we (the police) need public support” to make the city a peaceful place. Do you really believe with conscious faith in what you are saying? Realistically, if a police officer (even a single one) well-groomed and not chewing betel nut or smoking cigarettes were to patrol the Gordon area by himself doing lawful duties to curb the crime rise, the act would be well respected and his calls would be adhered to.
The public would support him in his efforts and those petty thieving gangs plying their trades along the corridor of bus stops and stores will be afraid to conduct their crime and there would be no crime around Gordon.

Brian Lora,
Port Moresby

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