Political drama raises security concerns

Editorial

FOR many of us, criminal incidents in our towns and cities leave us feeling emotional and, often, anxious.
And the current political showdown of numbers between the Government and the alternate Government has surely raised security concerns.
The standoff in the number game seem to have captivated many citizens who are observing with interest what will transpire in the next few days.
While the respective camps are regularly patrolled by public safety officers, city residents must not lose focus on safety measures.
Police will deploy extra police personnel about 1,000 policemen and women around the streets of Port Moresby starting tomorrow when parliament resumes tomorrow.
Currently there are about only 700 police officers to look after over 600,000 people in the city.
That is a ratio of one officer to more than 800 people which should be worrying as it places a strain on their efforts to securing a safer community.
The RPNGC has long struggled against growing problems of insecurity, with manifestly inadequate numbers and resources.
The small Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) has extremely limited capabilities.
Given the present law and order situation in the country and its seriously detrimental effect on personal and public safety and on business confidence and the broader economy, police numbers, no matter how well trained, positioned and motivated, are clearly grossly insufficient.
With the current ratio, police definitely cannot be everywhere in the city, so he is calling on the community to police and work together to fight crime.
Police say the security operation code-named ‘Lukautim-City’ will be headed by NCD/Central Commander Donald Yamasombi and it will remain enforced for several days in the lead up to, during and after the anticipated vote of no confidence to deter opportunists from taking advantage and creating law and order issues.
Opportunists are people who see a chance to gain some advantage from a situation, often at the expense of ethics or morals.
And that is the biggest danger given the number of police officers against citizens. The United Nations recommended Police-Population ratio is 1:450.
Police to population ratios for other jurisdictions are: Fiji 1:550, Solomon Islands 1:500, Queensland 1:475, Northern Territory of Australia 1:280.
PNG’s ratio of police to population has been well over these figures since 1981, and the present ratio of 1:800 (for NCD) represents a considerable challenge.
We should also mention here that while strong reactions to such disturbing events are natural and warranted, we ought to avoid panicking at all costs.
One thing authorities will have no control over is on speculative news and rumours that will be circulated through social media.
Paranoia undoubtedly brings us to our worst, and we must resist the temptation to feel overwhelmed or consumed. Rather, we should remain attentive to our environment for the safety of ourselves as well as others.
Concerns about personal security have been prominent in PNG for many years.
The city over time has experience the most limited police safety resources.
It’s unfortunate that past incidents like looting brings these precautions to the front of our minds, but we should take this opportunity to stay safe not only in the coming weeks, but throughout the rest of the year, as well.
With situation being a bit volatile, we trust that our security forces will be on alert to curb any slight show of violence not in Port Moresby but right across the country.

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