PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Sept. 24) - Provincial police commanders are this week meeting in Port Moresby to discuss ways of combating our ever-increasing law and order problems.

It is a problem that has always been at the forefront of our national agenda and one that will continue to be for a long time to come.

We have said through this column so many times in the past — and most people throughout Papua New Guinea have also expressed their views on this subject — that unless we reduce the level of crime in our country, our ability to progress in all facets of life will be crippled.

No single area of development in this country can make any headway without any real reduction in the level of criminal activity. That is a fact that everyone acknowledges.

There are no easy solutions. Numerous studies by acclaimed national academics and authorities on crime have produced volumes of words on the best ways of solving PNG’s law and order problems. Yet, no measured progress has been recorded to date — let alone felt by the population at large.

Police alone cannot bring down the level of crime statistics. They have an extremely important role to play and on the whole have done a commendable job. Often times they are accused of being the arresting officer, prosecutor, judge and executioner at the same time but the good work done by police far outweighs any negative criticisms of the force.

Let us not forget that many of our policemen and women live in sub-standard conditions yet put their lives on the line each day to ensure the safety and security of the entire community.

It is very well to talk about how we can improve police efficiency and performance but one cannot go past their pay and living conditions. These are basic issues that are central to the performance of any policeman or woman.

It is a tribute to the dedication of our police that they are still out there on the streets enforcing the law despite the appalling conditions under which they live with their families. The new Minister for Internal Security and the Government should not ignore the plight of police. We cannot defeat crime without them.

September 24, 2003

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