Police worry

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By JACKLYN SIRIAS and LUKE KAMA
THE Police Union is concerned about the safety of police officers providing security in troubled Southern Highlands.
Union president Lowa Tambua told a media conference in Port Moresby yesterday that the only thing that appeased them and their families was police insurance cover.
“This insurance policy is the only protection accorded to our policemen and women by the Government,” Tambua said.
His concern came on a day Prime Minister Peter O’Neill travelled and spoke to the people of Southern Highlands in Mendi to ease tensions following last week’s unrest.
And it came a day after police transferred senior officers to and from the province to help sort out issues.
Tambua said from past experience when police were deployed on such national call-outs, the Government had failed to pay insurance allowances.
“The police association will consider resorting to flexing its industrial muscle to seek redress on this issue,” he said.
“The Government must take heed of this call, and immediately release the outstanding insurance premium totalling K7mil covering more than 100 police officers, spouses and dependents for the years 2017 and 2018.”
The union was also concerned about treatment of police officers during different national callouts, especially the current State of Emergency in Southern Highlands.
“Our police personnel risk their lives daily, ensuring peace and harmony in all corners of the country,” Tambua said.
“So many police officers have died on duty in the hands of civilians during recent elections.
“That is the risk faced by police officers on the ground.”
Meanwhile, new acting administrator Joseph Cajetan said he was a neutral person with no affiliations to politicians, including Governor William Powi.
“There are many rumours floating around that I, Joseph Cajetan, am a Powi man,” he said.
“I wish to completely and categorically deny these rumours.
“I have never supported anyone publicly or privately including Powi, Joseph Kobol, Bernard Peter or anyone in the 2017 national election.
“I’m always a private and professional person with no interest in politics.”
Cajentan said he accepted the challenge of acting provincial administrator because he could not sit back and watch his province disintegrate.

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