A weakening force

Normal, Weekender

A retiring police officer says more needs to be done to raise the standard and morale of the Royal PNG Constabulary, writes JAMES APA GUMUNO

ONE of the longest serving members of the PNG Royal Constabulary based in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands province was farewelled recently.
Senior Inspector Steven Maliwolo, from East Sepik province served 32 years in Western Highlands province out of a total 37 years in the police force.
Mr Maliwolo, who officially put away his police uniform on Oct 20, told policemen and women during his farewell parade that while there were many achievements during his time in the force he was going out as an unhappy man.
He claimed that the police force is not being run as efficiently as it used to back in the 1970s and this was because they lacked logistic supplies, man power, accommodation, uniforms, fuel and vehicles.
Mr Maliwolo said that Commissioner Gari Baki and the police hierarchy in Port Moresby had failed over the years to address these issues.
He was saddened by the claims and media reports that the police force is crippled with corruption, bribery, nepotism and other illegal activities.
He blamed the top management for not dealing with such reports and thus allowing the good name of the police force to be tainted.
Mr Maliwolo pointed out that many police officers were asking complainants to buy fuel for their vehicle before they could attend to their complaints.
He said this was wrong but on the other hand the 30 litres of fuel they normally received every Monday, Wednesday and Friday is not enough to keep their vehicles on the road.
He said that as a State entity they are supposed to operate effectively but this is not the case now because of management problems.
Mr Maliwolo said that he is leaving the force an unhappy man because current members would still feel the pain unless there is a change in the management level where all these outstanding issues are properly addressed.
He urged the Police Commissioner to revisit the Police Force Act and enforce compulsory retrenchment. He said all members must be retrenched after serving 30 years in the force.
He said this will allow old police officers to move on and make way for young officers.
Provincial police commander, Supt Kaiglo Ambane, Met Supt Peter Roari and Supt Teddy Tei thanked Mr Maliwolo for giving more than half of his life to serve the people of Western Highlands province.
Mr Tei said since Mr Maliwolo passed out from Bomana on Feb 22, 1972 as a constable he had worked hard and honestly up to senior inspector and later police station commander of Mt Hagen.
During his career he had held other senior positions like instructor in the training division, zones commander, station commander for Bukapena, Muglamp, and officer in-charge of the barracks.
He commended Mr Maliwolo for his commitment to the force and urged young officers to maintain the standards set by him.