The general public has been urged to report any Police misconduct and harassment during the extended State of Emergency (SOE) period. The Police Internal Investigation Unit (IIU) has set up a national Toll-Free number, 3202364 at the Internal Affairs Directorate to deal with such complaints.
The Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and State of Emergency Operations Commander ,Donald Yamasombi, has established this toll-free number following numerous concerns raised by the general public over the continuous police misconduct and harassment at the various police road blocks and check – points over the last three weeks of the SOE.
“I want to remind all the Provincial Police Commanders and section heads that we are engaged in a national SOE operation for the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our primary effort and focus is to ensure all citizens avoid contracting COVID-19 disease and stop it from spreading throughout the country. “This fact must not be misconceived or abused by any individual during this operation.,”Commander Yamasombi said.
He said the SOE Controller has issued specific instructions immediately after the initial 14-day lock-down on April 6, 2020, adding that under the extended two month SOE there will only be six authorized road blocks where the ban on transportation of certain goods will remain.
“The six authorized road blocks are; Raburua, Kuradui, Uvol, Open Bay and Pundi River in the East New Britain Province and Warasikau and Salamain in the East Sepik Province. All other provinces were authorized to set up check -points to ensure the travelling public adhere to the SOE regulations and check on forbidden goods especially betel-nut (buai) and general movement of people.
“These were deemed necessary for the purpose of fighting this pandemic. “There is no inter-provincial or domestic travel restrictions and our officers must exercise their duty with due care and respect for our people. Our enemy is COVID-19 and not the people. “No police officer IS authorized by the Controller to impose cash spot-fines or damage any forbidden goods at the check points.
“ Such actions are illegal, hhowever, it is disheartening to receive reports of such acts being carried out by certain police officers. We have already established counter measures to address this and swift action will be taken against them. “I am appealing to the general public to come forward with information or evidence such as date, time, location and identity of policemen if possible and assist the IIU investigations team to deal with them,” Mr Yamasombi said.
He further called upon all police personnel to act professionally and treat everyone with respect. He highlighted that most complaints registered from the travelling public were from the highlands highway, Madang, Morobe, East and West Sepik highways and Central province. Respective Provincial Police Commanders have been notified to act immediately and address these issues ,” Commander Yamasombi concluded.