Quota system puts police under pressure

Editorial

POLICE stations in the nation’s capital now have a target to make at least 40 arrests a month.
The number of arrests will be a criteria used by the city’s police boss for individual police officer’s appraisal and a tick for the station commanders they work under.
Statistics from respective daily briefs from the stations in NCD show that police officers are not doing enough to arrest suspects and complete investigations.
Take Waigani station, for example. The weekly crime report indicated that last month 63 crimes were reported but only eight suspects were arrested.
That is not right. Something is wrong somewhere. Someone is not doing their job.
If the statistics are similar in other police stations, then we are in trouble.
And that is what is contributing to the increase in crime. It seems no one cares.
We commend the metropolitan superintendent for cracking the whip on this one.
Police officers have a constitutional duty and responsibility to apprehend, arrest and charge lawbreakers. Most officers perform their duty well and only a few continue to tarnish the force’s name by using tactics that are outside their line of duty.
The challenge of performance-based assessments is a good incentive and it is now up to individual officers to execute their duties according to the rules and with commitment.
Instead of just arrests, we suggest that the city police boss demands that the arrested offender actually appears in court.
The challenge will ensure that an officer who does the arrest actually completes the charge sheet correctly, the alleged offender is correctly charged according to the offence and the case goes before a magistrate for hearing.
Law and order is said to be on the rise in the country with everyone concerned working overtime to have it addressed.
And to have offenders charged by the courts will show that the authorities are serious about promoting a trouble-free community.
The challenge now is for police officers to arrest offenders, put the paperwork together swiftly with the evidence and take the matter to court.
Many cases against the State arise from allegations of police misconduct and police brutality.
The law enforcement agencies must make sure they do not infringe on the basic rights or freedoms of citizens.
That means our officers must be able to read and comprehend and write reports. Too many cases are being thrown out of the courts because the hand-up briefs are not written well or not prepared on time.
While the government is focused in making the change to deal with law and order issues by introducing stricter penalties, the danger is that the result will be temporary.
A proactive approach is needed. We believe collaboration is the way forward to addressing this issue.
The business community in Port Moresby and any authority concerned should work with our good met sup.
Police must be adequately funded to make the arrests and see the case through.
For now, what needs to be seen is an increase in the number of cases that are taken to court and successfully prosecuted.

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