By Lucy Kopana, EMTV News, Lae
Petty crimes and street vending have been a problem in Lae City. In recent weeks, however, the increase of foot beat patrols in the main shopping areas, have seen a marked increase in the number of arrests, to an average of 15 arrests per day.
Lae Metropolitan Commander, Anthony Wagambie Jr. said most of the street vendors arrested are repeat offenders, who were caught and fined by the City Council.
Mr Wagambie said there won’t be any spot fines, as police will only effect arrest, to follow the court process.
“Spot Fines were previously issued by the City Council but this has not had any effect. It also has the tendency of being abused were accepting bribes crept in. Opportunists also take advantage by pretending to be employed by the Council, and using threats to get money off people.” Mr. Wagambie said.
He said with the courts also issuing tough penalties, this will become a deterrent for petty crimes and street vending.
Meanwhile, police foot patrols into settlements have led to the arrests of suspects in possession of drugs, homebrew, and homemade guns in the Kamkumung areas.
“Generally, Police station commanders have been utilizing their personnel for foot beat patrols in settlements.” Mr Wagambie said.
He also added that the approach the Metropolitan Command has taken in using Facebook has been useful in getting feedback from the public on how best the police can perform, to meet community expectations.
“We have used a lot of the recommendations to tailor our policing strategies, so that it is accustomed to the environment we work in . Both positive and negative comments are taken on board so that Policing is done to expectations. Constructive criticism is good to ensure we meet our obligation to our community.”