By PETER WARI
POLICE personnel in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, are living in sub-standard conditions with most of their living quarters in dire need of renovation and maintenance, the province’s police commander says.
Chief Insp Jacob Kamiak said despite of what his officers and their families had to endure, they continued to do their best in carrying out their duties.
Chief Insp Kamiak said he was concerned with the rundown state of the housing for officers which did not have proper sanitation in terms of toilet facilities and laundry areas.
The National visited the barracks and noted that families were using pit toilets.
Chief Insp Kamiak said Mt Hagen was the main business centre and largest urban area in the Highlands and its police needed to be better supported to do their jobs.
He said the current police to population ratio was one officer for 1,500 civilians.
He said police did their best despite the lack of manpower, adequate logistical support and they had to also deal with poor living conditions.
Chief Insp Kamiak said Kimininga Police Barracks had three single quarters buildings with a total of 72 rooms accommodating police personnel and their families.
He said the same cramped and poor conditions were experienced at the force’s other barracks at Gomis, Ela, Saint Paul and Dog Unit.
He said police officers graduated from Bomana Police College and went straight to service and after two or three years had families but nowhere to go and had to squeeze in these small rooms.
He said none of the police barracks had any major maintenance work carried out for the last 30 years which had resulted in the present condition.
Chief Insp Kamiak said the state of the barracks posed a threat to the health and welfare of his officers and their families.
He said the police hierarchy needed to address the situation faced not just in Kimininga but elsewhere in the province, region and country as policing was a vital service.
By PETER WARI