DAISY TANIOVA PAWA
DESPITE efforts to improve housing conditions for police force in Milne Bay province, one barracks is so badly damaged that it has been pronounced unfit to live in.
The Doyle Barracks in Alotau is in a state where it should be “demolished or relocated”.
Provincial police commander Insp Lincoln Gerari said, in an effort to improve things, the Government had raised their base salaries.
However, if housing issues were not addressed, the work of the police force would be affected, he said.
Insp Gerari said, the barracks needed complete renovations.
He said the house walls were falling apart, fly wires and louver blades were broken and torn apart, and the septic pipes and drainage systems were worn out and leaking.
Insp Gerari said the officers and their families were at a health risk.
He commended the police headquarters for its efforts in addressing officers welfare but said the Doyle Barracks situation should be seriously looked at because there had not been any renovations done to the barracks in more than a decade.
Insp Gerari said a high ranking officer had visited the barracks early this year but no developments had eventuated.
He is now pleading with the head office to “quickly look into the conditions of Doyle Barracks and other barracks” throughout the country facing similar conditions.
Insp Gerari said police operations could be affected if housing issues were not addressed promptly.
Meanwhile, he said that there were no major crimes reported in the province since the reported murders involving a cult sect on the island of Misima last month.
He is currently concerned with preparations for Christmas and the New Year celebrations.
Insp Gerari said that he would be recruiting reserve police because the provincial police force was understrength for the festive season.
He said a submission would be sent to Port Moresby to request funding for the recruitment of reserve officers.
The present police force in the province includes 58 officers in town and rural districts and 40 from reserve and auxiliary special constables, bringing the total to 98 members.
He said manpower for the province should be increased to 200.
Insp Gerari said about K3.6 million was needed to build new homes.