Violence, crime defeating police

Editorial

THE recent spate of violent crimes, and clashes, some of which resulted in deaths in the country has left many in urban centres and indeed throughout the country in a state of fear, apprehension, and unease.
The vicious destruction of property and the injuring and damage of, in many instances, innocent individuals are reaching a stage where the shock of such incidents quickly dissipates from public consciousness after a very short period of time.
Dare we say it, we are live in a state fear but also of indifference and apathy.
We now live in a suffocating and restrictive situation where no one is truly free: to coexist, and conduct their business without the need to constantly look over one’s shoulder at every turn.
Core among the reasons for this decline in living a relatively tranquil, harmonious and peaceful existence in PNG is the relative absence of the law and law enforcement.
There are many areas in the country where the law of the land is literally what those who have the arms say it is or what the numbers say it is.
We have, without doubt one of the most ill-equipped, undermanned and overworked police forces in the region and perhaps the world for the eight million plus people of PNG.
Successive governments have paid this area of public service little to no real thought.
Many times, the police are required to appeal to the public and communities for the apprehension of suspects in crimes.
They are in fact getting the public to do their job because in reality, they are not funded, trained or logistically capable of keeping the peace and bringing to justice all who break the law everywhere and all the time.
Sometimes they are just not willing to do their jobs.
Some have been known to treat the public with contempt or even for their own amusement.
This is hardly the advertisement for the type of police force Papua New Guineans can feel confident in and trust.
Violent flare ups in Madang, Hela and the nation’s capital in recent months, demonstrates a depressing lack of respect, not only for human life, but for the laws of the country which are there to regulate and control anti-social behaviour.
The rate of development could be almost exponential when one takes into consideration the abundant, almost ridiculous, amounts of natural (renewable and non-renewable) resources this country has to offer.
Our problem has always been a matter of will, a strong will to get the job done and see through the completion of a workable and mutually beneficial plan.
Take a moment to consider how much more rapid the country’s development and progress would be if law and order were not an issue.
It is not beyond of the realms of possibility to envision this nation standing on equal terms with other powerbrokers of the region.
PNG is faced with a truly great opportunity to make developmental strides never before seen in terms of improving its standard of living and increasing its economic and political power in the Asia-Pacific region, however, the danger which could derail such high hopes remains law and order.

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