‘Sleepless nights’ admits PNG’s security minister over stretched police

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PNG Internal Security Minister Peter Tsiamalili Jr on the police staffing crisis
PNG Internal Security Minister Peter Tsiamalili Jr on the police staffing crisis . . . "I am asking for help. This issue did not happen overnight." Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s Internal Security Minister Peter Tsiamalili Jr says the Royal PNG Constabulary is “stretched” with only 5000 men and women serving the country of more than 9 million people.

“Now more than ever we need leadership, we are stretched as a force, we all know that — we only have 5000 men,” he said.

“We are making recruitments happen.

Issues in Hela — we are making every effort to manage this.

“That is happening in Hela, and it’s across the country. I am asking for help. This issue did not happen overnight, this is a culmination of the neglect our force has faced in the last 10 to 15 years.

“I am having sleepless nights, ensuring we work with the operational side of police. We are looking at stronger laws to deter citizens of such criminal acts.”

The minister — who is in charge of both the police and correctional services — was speaking during Parliament when he was asked by Mul-Baiyer MP Jacob Maki and a supplementary question from Abau MP Sir Puka Temu.

They questioned the minister on law and order issues over the latest crimes committed — in particular the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl in Hela and the kidnapping of researchers in Southern Highlands.

Suspects on social media
Sir Puka said the rise in the use of social media had enabled many to see pictures of the suspects posted on media platforms.

“We have seen the faces of criminals being posted and what is police doing about it?” Sir Puka asked.

“Citizens are using the platform of social media to put out those criminal behaviours.”

The minister said police were working on the issue.

“In terms of the prosecution of those exposed, we have a cybercrime office and team, working on prosecution, there are processes in place,” he said.

“Police have taken action and it is a process that will take place.”

Miriam Zarriga is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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