Regular police stretched to cover mines and normal duties
Bustin Anzu | Post Courier
Mining project sites in Papua New Guinea should build police programs before setting up their operations so that the current manpower cannot be drawn for mining duties, leaving normal policing duties with lack of manpower, says Bulolo MP and Opposition deputy leader Sam Basil.
Mr. Basil said there was a tendency for mining companies to lure policemen when there were issues within the mining sites, leaving normal policing work to fewer officers who did not have the resources to do their job effectively.
When appreciating Morobe Mining Joint Venture’s (MMJV) effort in training new police reservists for its company, he urged mining companies to make sure they had their security operation in place before they begun operations.
“When a mining company wants to set up a project, it must first set up a police establishment. This establishment will then help that mining project in law and order operations,” Mr. Basil said.
“At present, when there is a disturbance at a mining site, police personnel are drawn from normal policing and as a result, there is a lack of general policing and that is why we have continuous law and order breakdown.”
Mr. Basil made those comments during the passing out of 26 police reservists of MMJV at Bulolo on Friday.
He said currently, police numbers were down and when these mining sites requested for regular police in their respective sites, there was not enough manpower for general policing duties.
He thanked MMJV for taking the initiative in supporting law and order by training the reservists to boost the number of regular police manpower in the district.
Mr. Basil said according to the United Nations, a single police officer was supposed to serve at least 450 people, but currently, the ratio of PNG’s population of seven million to the police manpower is one to 5,000 and urged the Government to do something about it.
The Deputy Opposition leader also told members of the police hierarchy who were there in Bulolo to witness the ceremony that he would beef his own reserves with another additional 70 next year.
He said since he established his police reserves in Bulolo, the crime rate had drastically dropped and he would like to continue to assist police with manpower.
Mr. Basil said on top of increasing police manpower, he would buy an additional seven vehicles in 2013 so that each Local Level Government would have two vehicles.
However, he said the previous police reserves must be reviewed first before the approval was given for the enlistment of the second lot of 70 reserve constables for training and deployment.
Although, the current reserve’s presence in their respective LLGs had shown high police visibility, a review needed to be done to evaluate the amount of work the reserves were performing and whether there would be a need to recruit additional reservists, Mr. Basil said.