By JAMES APA GUMUNO
SOUTHERN Highlands police are prevented from collecting their mail over the counter at the Mendi post office because they have not paid their annual rentals.
Southern Highlands provincial police commander Supt Jimmy Onopia said yesterday from Mendi that Post PNG was reluctant to give officers their mail over the counter because the police failed to pay the annual rental bill for the medium-sized mail box they are using.
Supt Onopia said their mail box was locked since last week and all the important mail belonging to him, and his police personnel, were all locked in the box.
He said this was another blow to the police force in the province after their fuel supplier, AKM Investment, stopped supplying them with fuel for their vehicles some three weeks ago due to K146,000 outstanding payment which was carried forward during the State of Emergency police in the province some years ago.
Last week their telephone lines were cut due to none-payment of bills.
He said they had to wait until such time when the department renewed their rental of the post office box then they would be given a key to open the mail box.
Supt Onopia said despite these problems his policemen and women continued to put their heads up and carried out their duties effectively.
As a result, the crime rate in the province was steady.
He said police personnel continued to dig deep into their pockets to buy fuel for the vehicles and attend to major complaints.
He said in terms of communication, he bought flex cards to communicate with his superiors.
He said he was yet to receive funding from the provincial government to meet some of the operational cost.
He said in last year’s provincial budget, K650,000 was allocated for the police.
Supt Onopia said out of that money he only received K50,000 last May to buy stationery for the office and meet other operational cost.
He said he didn’t know where the K600,000 had gone.
He said in this year’s provincial budget, K300,000 was allocated to the police but did he not know when they would get the money and off-set some for its outstanding bills like fuel, buy new tyres of the police vehicles and meet other cost.
Supt Onopia said he would wait patiently and see.