Rogue cops cost K500m

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday 17th November 2011

ILLEGAL and improper conduct of police personnel has resulted in claims against the state totalling about K500 million, acting Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga said yesterday.
He made the revelation during the launching of a new pocket-size booklet called the “Guide for police conduct and behaviour”.
“We have been (often) taken to court because of our actions,” he said at the police headquarters in Port Moresby.
He said the amount of claims was excessive for a public organisation with just under 5,000 personnel.
“For the 11-month period from Jan 1, 2010, to Nov 30, 2010, we saw 20 dismissals, 42 demotions and two transfers as a result of sanctions issued for misconduct-related offences,” Kulunga said.
“There were 325 serious disciplinary offence reports and 27 minor disciplinary offence reports for that period.”
Kulunga’s comments came as two senior police officers face charges in court in relation to assaults on their wives.
Of the two officers under investigation for assaulting their wives, police said they had not arrested Simon Bernard.
Director international affairs division Supt Tony Duwang said Bernard was dismissed from the force and had been on the run since.
Duwang said criminal charges would be laid once he was caught.
He said Bernard was last spotted in Kimbe, West New Britain, but they had yet to apprehend him.
He said Chris Tamari, a police inspector who abused his wife Artkeria Painap, would be dealt with as soon his files were ready.
Kulunga said most of the offences committed by the police officers related to the assault and ill-treatment of members of the public, the very people they had sworn to protect.
The guide for police conduct and behaviour was put together by the internal affairs division.
“This booklet basically provides a general guide for police officers on duty to ensure human rights laws and humanitarian principles are upheld under any and all circumstances,” he said.
Kim Gordon-Bates, head of mission of the International Committee of Red Cross, whose organisation helped publish the booklet, said it was created to improve the image and credibility of the police force to maintain human dignity and the rights of all people. 
He said police officers had sworn an oath to serve and protect their communities and must be efficient, impartial, apolitical, and accountable for the benefit of society.
Deputy police commissioner (operations) Fred Yakasa said the booklet did not replace the police code of ethics but enforced it in a simplified way.