By Martha Louis – EM TV News, Lae
The shortage of police manpower in the Menyamya District of Morobe Province has resulted in an increase in serious crime especially murder and rape.
Based on the police structure, there should be 5 police personnel stationed at the district, however, there are only two officers on the ground.
Chief Inspector for Rural Command, David Warap, said due to the limited manpower, police are using members of the public as reserve police officers.
Warap said reserve police who have not undergone training and are carrying out policing duties are operating illegally.
The Chief Inspector for Rural Command said the police in Menyamya District are outnumbered.
Therefore, police in the district are engaging members of the community as reserve police to deal with law and order issues.
Warap said the situation came to their attention when 12 men were locked up in the police station cell.
These men were alleged to have assaulted a village councillor in the district. They were forced to pay a total of K8,500 as compensation before they were released.
The 12 men were detained for 3 days and were released after paying the K8,500.
Police reserves in Menyamya have been forcing complainants and victims to pay huge sums of money as compensation in order to settle their complaints outside of court.
Tewai/Sissai is another District in Morobe Province that is also facing the same problem.
The District has only three police personnel. One is stationed at Salamaua and two are stationed at Wasu , while a number of young men in the District are working as police reserves.
However, these police reservists are not trained and are operating illegally. Police reservist need to be trained so that they operate within the rule of law.
Police are advising District CEOs to carry out proper police training for its police reservists.
There are only three districts in the province – Bulolo, Finscahhafen and Nawaeb that have trained their police reserves.
Training of police reserves will also help police to deal with the high number of police brutality reports made against police.