Police ops heading in right direction

Editorial, Normal

The National, Wednesday December 30th, 2015

 THE winds of change are blowing definitively through police operations in the National Capital District.

With new Metropolitan Superintendent Benjamin Turi at the helm, there seems to be a downturn in serious crimes in the past few months.

Even the carjackers in suburbs like Gerehu are taking a break during the festive season. Hopefully, they will think seriously about resuming their illegal activities in the New Year. 

The adage, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” aptly applies to Turi’s style of operations.

Since taking office in October, Turi has worked tirelessly to address key law and order issues in the city, particularly police brutality. 

He began with all officers under his command declaring firearms in their possession. 

Many undisciplined officers and “rogue cops” found themselves under suspension and off the payroll.

Turi has also worked hard at revamping the tattered police image as well as enhancing his public and media relations. 

He continues to warn business entities and city residents to be cautious of police personnel entering their premises and homes without authorised search warrants.

Turi’s announcement last week that there won’t be a liquor ban in the NCD and Central province during the festive was a pleasant surprise and hailed by many.

We totally agree that liquor bans in the past have never been effective and never will. So it makes sense to allow normal liquor trading to continue during the festive season.

The city’s top cop has indeed turned a new leaf in the police operations book by placing their trust in people to celebrate responsibly.

By all accounts, most residents enjoyed peaceful celebrations last weekend. And the heavy police presence, especially night beat patrols and traffic roadblocks, ensured that lawlessness, public disturbances and reckless behaviour were kept to a minimum.

Residents are now looking forward to welcoming the New Year in style and without any major hiccups. They can certainly rely on Turi’s policemen and women to guarantee their safe celebrations.

As the curtain draws on a most eventful year, NCD residents will be heartened to hear that their city has been divided into three police district commands, which will be headed by district superintendents who will answer to the metropolitan superintendent.

Though overdue, this initiative is a significant development for police operations in the nation’s capital whose population has soared to more than half a million people in the past few years.

As Police Commissioner Gari Baki said when announcing the decision this week, “The idea is to create three mega stations which will be responsible for smaller stations around them. We will decentralise police functions to these stations so the response time is quicker. You serve members of the public much quicker.” The three main stations will be Badili for the Moresby South district, Gordon for the Moresby North-East district and Waigani for the Moresby North-West district.

Baki did not reveal details of funding and manpower requirements for the NCD district commands but it is envisaged the initiative has the blessing and support of the political leadership.

Nonetheless, significant funding will be needed to fully implement this decentralisation process, which equates to larger numbers of police personnel, vehicles and other equipment for the new district stations. 

It is pointless decentralising or reorganisating police operations in the NCD without appropriate funding by the Government.

While the police commissioner and his minister are seeking budgetary assistance for this project, it must emphasised that effective policing in the suburbs and settlements is essential for the success of police operations in the capital city.

Residents feel safe and secure when they see regular police presence around the city. Moreover, they want police to attend to their complaints much quicker – that is the essence of effective policing.

Crime will always be the dark of life in a growing city like Port Moresby but effective measures must be taken by the Governmetn and its relevant agencies such as the Police Force to keep these illegal activities under control.

Therefore, the initiative to decentralise police operations in the NCD is a major step forward in the fight against crime and lawlessness in this city and country.