Cops working with car thieves, claims Graham

National, Normal

The National – Thursday, June 23, 2011

MEMBERS of the Royal PNG Constabulary have been collaborating with criminals in car thefts and receiving ransom, parliament was told yesterday.
This was alleged by Deputy PNG party leader and member for Anglimp-South Waghi Jamie Maxtone-Graham during question time in parliament yesterday.
He said the number of car thefts had increased in the city, with more than 50 cars stolen each day.
Maxtone-Graham said he was one of the victims of such car thefts after his vehicle was stolen by criminals and only returned after he paid them a ransom.
He said stolen vehicles were being held for ransom and “it’s now becoming a big industry in the country”.
He said many people had not reported stolen cars to police because “the people are now digging deeper into their pockets to get their vehicles back from the thieves after paying ransom because the system is not working”.
He said the police department did not have statistics as was the case in the past because of the defunct systems and because the victims were not reporting the matter as they were paying ransom.
Minister for Internal Security Mark Maipakai said if police were colluding with criminals, the member should be specific and identify the individuals involved in such organised crime.
He said police officers took an oath to serve and protect the people and their property and not to steal from them.
Maxtone-Graham asked if the government was doing anything to guarantee the lives and property of citizens with police involved in such organised crime.
He said if police were involved in such illegal activities, the matter should be reported to the police hierarchy and the public complaints section of the constabulary.
In a supplementary question, member for Moresby Northeast Andrew Mald said members of the police force were buying second-hand clothes as police uniforms and asked if the department could buy new uniforms.
He asked what action should be taken on policemen on duty under the influence of alcohol and getting drunk while on duty.
He asked if the Enhanced Cooperation Programme should be reintroduced to maintain discipline and address some of the problems.
Maipakai said that the department was in dialogue with the Chinese government for aid to buy uniforms and the issue would be addressed while the ECP programme could not be reintroduced as there were legal issues surrounding it.
He said there were ways Australian police could be involved to help the RPNGC while a submission would be tabled before the NEC for sector patrol.