Officers query disarming of police unit

National, Normal

The National,Thursday 22nd December 2011

SOME members of the police force in the National Capital District have expressed disappointment with the disarming of the armed robbery response unit.
The unit was disarmed by Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga last week following their involvement in preventing O’Neill from entering Government House to be sworn-in as Prime Minister by Governor General Sir Michael Ogio.
Sources in the police department in Boroko said the unit was now powerless in trying to combat crime in the city because their firearms and vehicles had been taken away.
The sources said members of unit who had stopped O’Neill and faction members had acted under orders from their superiors following the Supreme Court order to reinstate Sir Michael Somare as prime minister.
“The ARRU was not taking sides. Orders are orders. They had to obey,” a source said.
It is understood that during the confusion when Somare was restored by the court and O’Neill was appointed by the Parliament, Fred Yakasa was appointed as the acting Police Commissioner by the Somare camp.
The ARRU was then ordered by Yakasa to stage a barricade in front of Government House to prevent O’Neill from being sworn in as prime minister.
The source said that action was in line with the Supreme Court order and the ARRU was not taking sides as purported by critics.
“Crime is an ongoing problem in the city and the O’Neill-led government and Kulunga need to restore the ARRU as soon as possible,” the source said.
The source said the government would be held responsible if there was an armed robbery in the city.
The source said the ARRU comprised specialist officers.