The National, Friday 23rd December 2011
Reports by YVONNE HAIP
A SENIOR police officer in Southern Highlands has been suspended for using a police vehicle to assist a public servant smuggle liquor into the province.
The officer also faces charges in relation to the misuse of the police vehicle to smuggle about 28 cartons of OP and Live Lave.
The public servant was also charged with smuggling liquor before being released on a K1,000 police bail.
The officer tried to break the liquor ban enforced by police at a checkpoint on the Kagul River Bridge along the border of Western Highlands and Southern Highlands.
The ban imposed by the provincial government came into effect from June 3 last year.
According to police, the officer was attached with the Ialibu police and was caught trying to assist a public servant employed by the Tari Town Authority to smuggle liquor through the checkpoint at midnight.
Acting provincial police commander, Chief Insp Sibron Papoto warned police officers using police resources for personal use under the pretence of enforcing the law would face similar charges.
He said police were supposed to be enforcing the liquor ban, not encouraging it.
Papoto said most officers were committed and hardworking and only a few undisciplined officers tarnished the good image of the constabulary.
He called on the public to report any police vehicles involved in the smuggling of liquor into the province or other illegal activities.
He also appealed to the people, including public servants, to respect the total liquor ban and help enforce it, especially during the festive season.
Papoto said the Christmas and New Year operations would target liquor outlets and road blocks would be put up at strategic locations to ensure liquor was not smuggled into the province during the festive period.
He said although police had arrested and convicted many offenders, this had not deterred the smugglers from continuing their illegal trade.
He was concerned that the selling and consumption of liquor had increased and many complaints reported daily were alcohol-related.