Labi: Bring back Vagrancy Act

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, December 21, 2010

THE government must reintroduce the Vagrancy Act to control the influx of urban migration, transfer liquor licensing powers and traffic registry back to police, Momase police chief said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Giossi Labi made these recommendations during the police commissioner’s meeting in Lae recently.
He said the Vagrancy Act must be revisited and exercised to empower authorities to have some control over the drift of people from the rural areas into our towns and cities.
“At this point in time, there is no control over these movements, and as a result, there is
widespread of lawlessness in the urban areas and settlements are spreading up like mushrooms,” Labi said during the meeting.
He said the powers of both the liquor licensing and the traffic registry must be given back to police so that there is complete control of the issuance of liquor licence and traffic registration.
“There has been much lawlessness in our societies, related with the consumption of alcohol and at the same time, road accidents have occurred.
“This is because there is no control over the issuance of liquor licensing and strict driving procedures before issuing driving licences.”
Labi said many of the liquor dealers and the drivers conspire with both liquor licensing and traffic registry officers to collect these important documents.
He said these were some of the reasons why there were a lot of incidences relating with alcohol and nasty and even fatal road accidents.
He also said many a times, there was much talk about these issues but nothing concrete came out from the people who make policies and they must consider doing these changes or else it would be too late.
Labi said penalties regarding dangerous drugs must also be toughened so that those who were penalised by the court  must be severely punished.
At the moment, he said, the maximum penalty for a drug offender was a low two-year jail time; it must be higher than that and even forfeit of their personal properties to the state.
“In that way, we may be able to reduce dealing with drugs.
“Drug traffickers will be made aware that if caught by law offenders, they will be subject to severe court penalties,” he said.
These were some of the recommendations he made during the three-day police commissioner’s conference on Dec 8-10 in Lae which was attended by provincial police commanders, metropolitan commanders and divisional commanders.