The National, Thursday 08th December 2011
POLICE Commissioner Tom Kulunga has ordered the withdrawal of all police personnel from logging camps following allegations of abuse of power against them.
There was no indication of the number of officers involved, where they would be deployed to and whether it was part of plans to boost police operations elsewhere during the festive period.
But the directive targeted all members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, reservists and auxiliary police officers at the camps.
“I have made this decision to protect and preserve the professional integrity of the organisation and to minimise and manage complaints against police,” Kulunga said.
“The constabulary is supposed to be providing policing services to everyone in Papua New Guinea, regardless of social status, race, religion or sex.”
Kulunga said: “Unfortunately, as we have experienced in the past, when a private organisation takes over what are primary responsibilities of the state such as the provision of transportation, board and lodging, then, there are bound to be instances of bias or favouritism towards the sponsor.”
He said any future deployment to logging sites would be “strictly sanctioned by the police hierarchy in strict compliance with the constabulary’s standard operational procedures”.
He said it was necessary to ensure police operations, when requested or warranted at logging camps, were “impartially carried out within the confines of the law
and in a fair, transparent and accountable manner”.
Kulunga also placed an indefinite ban on the hire of private vehicles by police.
“A previous ban issued by former commissioners Gari Baki and Anthony Wagambie is still in effect but has been largely ignored,” he said.
“As of this notice, no member of the constabulary is authorised to hire private vehicles.
“The commissioner of police and, only in his absence, any one of the two deputy commissioners authorise the hire of private vehicles if there is a need to,” Kulunga said.
He advised private vehicle hire companies to note that claims would only be paid if they had been authorised by the police commissioner.
“There will be no exceptions,” he said.
Kulunga said all vehicles on hire to police were to be returned within seven days from the publication of his notice.
He said police would not pay any hire car bills after the seven-day grace period.
Meanwhile, police had stepped up patrols on most urban centres in anticipation of the festive season.
In the National Capital District and Central, Assistant Commissioner Fred Sheekiot said manpower and resources would be mobilised for special security operations.
“The heightened security alert is necessary to maintain law and order in the city during the parliament session and the Supreme Court reference ruling on Dec 9,” Sheekiot said.
He said police recruits and staff from the Bomana Police College would join operational units.
Police attention is also focused on the court case on Monday against Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and Justice Minister Dr Allan Marat.