LAE, MOROBE CRIMINALS BETTER EQUIPPED THAN POLICE

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Governor urged to make case to PNG government

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 25, 2009) – Criminals operating in Lae and Morobe province, as a whole, have more high-powered weapons than police, according to a police document.

The document was presented to Morobe Governor Luther Wenge, in the form of a petition, to be presented to the National Parliament at its next sitting next month.

The petition details a wide range of problems and issues affecting the morale and performance of police in Lae city and rural Morobe.

With such firepower, police admit criminals have far superior firearms than what the official law enforcement body has.

The petition states categorically that police are badly equipped and resourced to fight criminals in Morobe.

The petition appeals to Mr Wenge to speak up on behalf of police in his province and to tell the Government to seriously do something about the problems they have raised.

Police hosted a parade at their run-down Bumbu barracks and invited Mr Wenge to accept their petition.

Mr Wenge said policing was a National Government function and it was crucial that it ensured that police perform their constitutional duties to the nation.

Mr Wenge said the Morobe provincial government would organise a public forum to have the public discuss the issue of law and order in the province and give their support to the police petition.

Among the many issues raised, the petition states that accommodation remains the most critical issue for police in the province.

Their housing has not been maintained for the past 30 years, the petition states.

At the Bumbu barracks for example, termites have destroyed all living quarters and offices.

The situation in the rural centres are also similar, the petition states.

The petition also details the alarming shortage of firearms for all police units, and senior officers have expressed fear that with the serious decline in manpower and the small number of outdated firearms, police would face great difficulty trying to contain major civil unrests or protect State institutions whenever called upon to do so.

The petition states that lack of ammunition was also a major critical factor affecting policing in the province.

The police petition states that despite a constant increase in the population of Lae city and Morobe province over the years since Independence, police numbers and resources had not been increased to keep up with the demands of policing in an environment that had seen a rapid increase in serious crimes, ethnic conflicts and also increase in population both in Lae city and the province.

Mr Wenge assured Morobe police he would do all he could to take their concerns up with the National Government and also Parliament.

After receiving the petition, Mr Wenge ordered his officers to start preparing for a public forum in Lae on the general law and order situation and the problems hindering police performance.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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