Lay Formal Complaints to Internal Investigation Unit

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By Lucy Kopana – EMTV News, Lae

Lae’s Metropolitan Commander Anthony Wagambie Jr is urging the general public to lay formal complaints to the Police Internal Investigation Unit (IIU), if and when aggrieved by police officers.

This follows a number of complaints being expressed on social media, regarding the conduct of police officers.

Officer in charge of the IIU, Detective Inspector Issac Mol said not many people are aware of the processes involved when reporting officers. He said complaints can either be laid at the Lae Central Station’s duty counter, or directly at the IIU office.

“We register the complaints by obtaining statements and collecting necessary evidence like medical reports…or photographs and compile the statements and we deal with the offending officers”.

The IIU in Lae has three officers and serves the Metropolitan and Provincial Police Commands. The Unit is responsible for investigating shootings, deaths, serious offenses, and allegations involving police officers.

In the past two years there has been a decline in the number of complaints received at the IIU in Lae, from over seventy complaints in 2017, to forty-one in 2018.

Last year, five officers were arrested and charged for criminal offenses, varying from grievous bodily harm (GBH), stealing, damaging property, and assault.  Two were convicted and sentenced, and twenty-three were given serious disciplinary charges whilst others penalized.

“Most of the cases are assault; Police brutality.” said Mr. Mol.

Mr. Wagambie says a formal complaint has to be laid with the IIU, in order for officers to be investigated.

“If they find that there is evidence to proceed criminally, they will arrest the member. If it’s a discipline matter they will process administrative paperwork for me to sign and they will have dealt with administratively.

He reiterated that members of the police force are guarded by the police code of conduct on and off duty, and can be reported if their conduct is unlawful.

The Lae Metropolitan Comander further added that the public can use the toll-free number to report such cases.

“In this command here, we want to work with the public to ensure that we deliver services that ensure that their safety is guaranteed, and also while doing that we want to do it professionally by not breaking the law ourselves, that is why the internal affairs are here to ensure that that is being done.”