Police frustration directed at the wrong target

The United Nations has reported that Papua New Guinea police systematically beat detainees, cripple those suspected of serious crimes and sexually assault female prisoners. These were the conclusions from a two week tour of the country by the UN's special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, who said police often brutally beat detainees with car fan belts, gun butts, iron rods and stones.

While nobody should try and condone the police actions, they are a gross abuse of individual human rights and freedoms and must be condemned; one can understand at one level the police's frustrations. All too often the suspected criminals they capture are released by the courts because of lack of resources, inefficiency or a failure to follow proper procedures and even if convicted many violent criminals simple walk out of jail and reoffend.

In addition, police are forced to work in terrible conditions. Our police stations are usually a disgrace, run down, dirty and unhygenic, and our police lack the most basic equipment. Worse, many police families are forced to live in squalor without water or electricity in barracks that are not fit for human habitation.

If I were a policeman or women I would be frustrated!

But by beating, raping and crippling the criminals they do arrest the police are taking out their frustrations on the wrong people

As Mr Nowak, has pointed out,  officers with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary are often unable to enforce the law due to insufficient human and financial resources, high levels of corruption and a lack of political will.

It is the politicians and senior bureaucrats whole are steling millions of dollars from the public who should be the target of the police's frustrations.

It is not the police who are responsible for the "overcrowded, filthy cells, without proper ventilation, natural light or access to food and water for washing, drinking and for using the toilets" described by Mr Novak.

These things are the fault of our corrupt politicians and senior bureaucrats.

If the police want to vent their frustrations then they should read the Reports of the Finance Department Commission of Inquiry and take up their issues with the people implicated there.

It is these politicians and senior public servants who are responsible for the medical care that is lacking for inmates which leads "to avoidable amputations and the spread of disease among detainees".

Mr Nowak said he had met with high-ranking Papua New Guinea government officials and had been assured they took the issue seriously. "They haven't denied what I said," he said. But they have also not provided any solutions.

Until they do the right thing and stop the white-collar crime it is the high-ranking officials who should feel the heat of police frustrations.


The shocking Oro-ble story on The National front-page today about the misusue and abuse of public funds, meant to provide relief for Cyclone Guba, makes me sick to the stomach.

Names have been flying around for years since the disaster of the possible beneficiaries of the relief money. The worst thing about is that no-one in Oro province or Popondetta has the guts to take action against these perpetrators.

If any of you behind "ACT NOW" are from Oro province, maybe we can expose the culprits and "ACT NOW" to ensure that those people in the province; or so-called leaders, who steal public funds do not get away scot-free.

The Police are an integral part of society as they are there to enforce our country's laws. It's disheartening to read this and especially to see it played out in everyday life in PNG. It's true that there are a lot of human rights violations in PNG and the even sadder part is that it is generally accepted. For instance, I once watched as a policeman beat a drunk Corination primary school student who was causing a scene and getting rowdy with other drunk boys along the residential street near the primary school in POM. The policeman beat the boy to a pulp before throwing him into the back of the police vehicle. All the onlookers and all the security guards of the residences were all saying the same thing, "Em gutpla ya, disla ol mangi no sa harim tok", " Paitim ol na ol bai save", "Em nau pilim", etc. I'm sure almost all of us have watched such scenes, shaken our heads, said the same things and then walked on. I do condemn the violent manner in which the police force personnel handle situations of such however I don't blame them completely. They are FRUSTRATED! I am FRUSTRATED! We all are FRUSTRATED! With the shitholes they have to work in, the menial wages they earn, the run down little houses they have to live in and especially the criminals they have to catch and re-catch they are beyond frustrated. They should take a stand, mobilize themselves and bring all those thieves in the "haus tambaran" to justice.