By Scott Waide – EM TV, Lae
The surrender of homebrew equipment and marijuana in Hakwange, in Morobe’s Menyamya District has highlighted the stark reality of police manpower shortage in rural Papua New Guinea.
Hakwange is several hours from Menyamya station and has a high rate of drugs and alcohol consumption.
There are only two policemen for a district that requires 40. Yesterday, when more than 30 young men pledged to give up the consumption of illegal alcohol and drugs, it brought to light the absence of strong police presence in the district.
For the whole of Menyama there are only two policemen. One is an aging constable, and the other the station commander – a sergeant.
Members of the Hakwange community say they have seen enough over the years and have lost confidence in the systems of government.
Menyama’s police shortage is part of a bigger problem.
Ten months into the job, Morobe’s Provincial Police Commander, Chief Superintendant Kaiglo Ambane, says younger policemen do not want to go to places like Menyama because there isn’t a clear career path.
“The career motivation isn’t there,” Ambane says. “Rural policing has to be restructured from the top and it should begin with the establishment of a proper provincial police command.”
In Morobe, there are only 200 policemen and women. The job of policing the province is a task that requires careful long-term planning.
The Provincial Police Commander and the Menyamya MP, Benjamin Phillip are in discussions on how best to resolve the problem. Funding has been allocated for police housing, but getting the money to the ground will take several more months.