PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 28, 2008) – Business people are calling on the Government to do something immediately about the surge of violent crime in Papua New Guinea.

So what, you may say. Crime has been the consistent "high performer’’ in PNG for many years and what will one more plea for help achieve?

The obvious answer to that is that we cannot give up the battle, we must continually look for ways and means to lessen the very real fear of honest, law-abiding people for violent crime in our society.

It is heartening that the entire chamber of commerce and industry network is taking up the call to the Government on this occasion.

A united front is needed to impress on the political leaders of our nation that things are seemingly getting worse, not better.

There has always been a lot of robbery with violence and weapons in the decades since we became independent. But the criminals are getting smarter, more businesslike and more deadly. The cases of kidnap to get bank or other business staff to open up safes or other locked up valuables are getting more frequent.

It is plain that criminals are using networks of informants, many working from inside industry, to find out all they need to succeed.

Business leaders and police will need to pool their knowledge and ideas and redraw their strategies to deal with the new breed of criminal.

Crime and the industries that exist because of it are booming. Security guard companies are thriving on it, although they are providing an essential service. Companies that build bigger and better "fortresses’’, firms that provide escorts, are doing well.The Government has ploughed millions of kina into the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary in its efforts to bolster the defences of our society. Police are on much better pay and conditions than before.

We as taxpayers are waiting to see if these improvements in conditions will result in an improved performance, sustained over the long run.

The Government has accepted a revised form of the Australian aid package with police expertise being brought in. Many think the original package was best with Aussies walking side by side with our officers on the streets, but that is not to be.

Business people and ordinary citizens alike are tired of the the bashings, the bag snatches and the more sophisticated robberies that affect staff and managers alike.

Real, discernible progress and an improvement for our common safety is what we want!

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