Manpower issues crippling police in Hela


Hela Governor Philip Undialu, says there is a serious shortage of police manpower in the province.
He said this at the weekend after an incident at Angore Wellpad A and B last Wednesday night in which operations were disrupted and a security manager kidnapped.
Undialu told The National that provincial police commander Michael Welly was trying his best with very limited manpower.
“We literally don’t have police in Tari,” he said.
“Police Commissioner (Gari Baki) has turned a deaf ear to the PPC’s continuous calls for additional manpower.
“The 40-man MS (mobile squad) 9 has been reduced by almost half, because most of them were Southern Highlanders, who had to leave for their own safety after the killing of two Hela policemen near Mendi.
“Everyone’s moved out and we have only 10 to 15 officers, but again, these have been directed by the mobile squad command to go and provide security at the LNG project. The PPC is working out of Tari with literally no manpower.
“Are we serious about enforcing law-and-order in Hela?
“That’s the question I’m raising to the police commissioner.”
Undialu said the long-overdue Hela jail promised by Government was also contributing to the law-and-order problem.
“We have no way of solving problems now but to go back to the old way of doing mediation,” he said.
“We send lawbreakers back to the community instead of jailing them.
“Payback killings are continuously going on because murderers are not locked up. The perpetrators are not being punished.”
Undialu said police and the jail were national issues.
“We at provincial government level continue to assist police in whatever way we can but deployment and engagement is entirely up to the command of police and Correctional Service,” he said.