POLICE abuse is a grave concern.
It has a long history and it seems to defy all attempts to be eradicated.
The problem is national – no police station in the country is known to be completely free of misconduct.
We’d like to see that this situation is not hopeless. Policinghas seen some progress in some areas.
Today, among both officials and rank and file officers, it is widely recognised that police brutality hinders good law enforcement.
About two years ago, a former police minister told Parliament he and Police Commissioner Gari Baki were working on getting in place a set of guidelines for police offices to follow.
So what has happened to the guideline? What then had been the guideline that officers were using?
Could this be the result in the breakdown in some sectors that is contributing to the public losing confidence in the police?
Current Police MinisterBryan Kramer has inherited a chronic problem and it would be interesting to see how takes this issue on.
Kramer knows the challenges an officer faces every day such as lack of resources, no vehicles for officers to conduct patrols and salaries.
Putting aside their challenges, police are there to uphold law and order in a community, uphold peace and be agents of change.
While many practice their oath in their daily conduct on duty, a few go off track and they are the ones that have to be toed back into line. The public must understand that there is a pathway to hold officers accountable for their actions and the people must not be afraid to use it.
All police departments have methods of taking civilians’ complaints about police officers.
Usually these complaints are referred to as internal affairs complaints.
These complaints are investigated by other police officers.
Filing an internal complaint is the only avenue that can lead to discipline or termination of a police officer other than a criminal conviction of the officer, which very rarely happens.
Knowing that it is difficult to win the public’s trust and confidence, some provincial commanders have taken the step to introduce various programmes and operations as a way of showing their community that they are there to help.
Take Lae for example: the metropolitan commander Anthony Wagambie Jnr has introduced foot patrols and the Lae sector response unit which is arguably the most effective in the country so far. And of late, CCTV units set up in Lae.
Wagambie has capitalised on the social media medium to promote this with a RPNGC Lae Metropolitan Command page advises and updates the public in Lae on what’s happening.
Lae police also have a Whatsapp group linked to emergency toll free number.
Now that is going the extra mile to show the community that the police is there to protect and promote peaceful living.
The NCDC metropolitan commander Perou N’dranou made his intentions known to conduct regular city patrols as a strategy to regain the public’s confidence.
These officers and many others need must be supported by way of ensuring funding is allocated to see through the plan.
What good is a grand plan without funding?
If there are leaders who have the vision to make a difference, they must be supporting with logistics and funding and this where the minister and commissioner must come in.
POLICE abuse is a grave concern.