31 Oct 2013

PNG police encourage public to come forward with complaints

6:30 pm on 31 October 2013

The police in Papua New Guinea are appealing to the public to help them take action against rogue officers in the force.

The police media relations officer, Superintendent Dominic Kakas, is encouraging people to come forward and make a complaint if they come across officers who are abusive or corrupt.

Mr Kakas told Amelia Langford the police's Internal Affairs Unit will closely follow complaints to ensure action is taken, but they need the public's help.

DOMINIC KAKAS: It's a problem, it's an on-going issue, one that we are dealing with at this point in time. But we'd like to encourage the public to help us. Because we hear all kinds of stories, and people... You go to Facebook, you go on the blog sites and so on and so forth, people talk about their experiences. But not many of them actually take the time to come forward and lay an official complaint. Because that's the only time we can then take action against those members of the constabulary. And the Commissioner of Police, Mr Tom Kulunga, has actually mentioned that there is no place in the constabulary for undisciplined, abusive and corrupt policemen.

AMELIA LANGFORD: What are you telling the public to do if they have a bad experience with a police officer?

DK: It depends on where they are. In the national capital district we've got a public complaints desk at the six mile police station and that's where they go and initially they make a complaint there. To ensure that action is taken on the complaints we've actually asked them to make sure they forward copies of the complaints to the metropolitan superintendent, the commander of the .. central and the director of the internal affairs unit. The internal affairs unit will actually be overseeing whatever disciplinary, administrative or criminal proceedings police will take against our own members here in the NCD and also around the country, too. In the other provinces, they would have to report that to their provincial police commander.

AL: And can the public be confident that the police will act on these complaints?

DK: Oh, yes. That's what we are telling them, that they can be rest assured that we will take action. We will take action.

AL: And has that always been the case in the past, or have complaints fallen through the cracks?

DK: In the past, yes. Complaints have been falling through the cracks, as you say. But what we are seeing is that a lot of complaints are coming through. There's a lot of stories we hear. People are talking about Facebook and so on about the incidents they had with policemen, but they're not coming forward and making official complaints. That's why we are encouraging them to come forward and start making complaints. And we are assuring them that we will take action.

AL: So the police are taking a proactive approach here saying 'Don't go on social media. Come to us and we can deal with it'?

DK: Yes, that's what they are basically saying. If they want to continue going on social media, fine, but then the problems will continue. If they want to help us to help them, then they can come forward, make a complaint and then we will investigate it and take the necessary action.

Dominic Kakas says the majority of police officers are professionals who are not corrupt.