PNG HIGHLANDS POLICE CITE LACK OF RESOURCES

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Mar. 24) – Police in Mt Hagen lack resources and do not have the manpower to fight crime in the Highlands city, Provincial Police Commander Superintendent Wini Heano said yesterday.

Mr Henao was responding to criticisms from leaders in Mt Hagen that police in the city failed to respond with any urgency to the killing of the Australian pilot in the center of the city two weeks ago.

One of the alleged killers was apprehended by a Mt Hagen City Council worker, who pursued the three men who held and shot the pilot.

The response of Mt Hagen police, or lack of it, was criticized by leaders during a meeting in the Mt Hagen Council Chamber.

But Mr Henao said police can’t do much with no money, no logistic, and reduced manpower.

"How can the provincial authorities expect us to perform our duties if they can’t support us?" he said.

He said that they are struggling to use the little resources available to maintain law and order.

Mr Henao said if the police were given assistance by the provincial authorities and failed in their duties, then such sharp criticisms would be warranted.

Otherwise, it was a waste of time waging a war in the media, as this would not solve the escalating law and order problems in the city and the province, he said.

Mr Heano said with 74 policemen sent home two years ago when health authorities condemned a barracks that houses them, their manpower remain depleted.

He said the two buildings for single men are still in bad shape because there is no money to carry out renovation work.

He said all these showed a collective effort to fight law and order problems and he called for a closer working relationship with provincial leaders and the Mt Hagen City Authority.

Meanwhile, members of the Western Highlands Provincial Government want the death penalty provision of the Criminal Code used as a deterrent to rise in serious crimes in the country.

The Chairman for Finance Nathan Wantape said if one takes another’s life, that person must surrender his life too.

Mr Wantepe said this is the only way people will learn because nothing else seems to deter them.

Education Chairman John Yama said the province needs more policemen.

Mr Yama said they were ready to work closely with Australian police personnel who would be deployed soon in the country under the Enhanced Co-operation Program.

March 24, 2004

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