Bent coppers creating a massive law & order dystopia
19 December 2017
PORT MORESBY - State institutions in Papua New Guinea are hijacked, corrupted and abused by power elites, a pillaging that starves the PNG people of public goods.
The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) is one such institution in which citizens have no trust.
It is regrettably not ‘royal’ anymore ; it is rogue – and, what's more sick, it is subjective.
Policing requires maintaining law and order and upholding the security of the nation through combating crime and ensuring people comply with government laws, regulations and rules.
Effective policing involves fighting all forms of corruption in the performance of policing duties and the promoting high standards of honesty, integrity and ethical behaviour for police and all employees of the RPNGC.
However police in PNG have no respect for the rule of law and their fellow citizens. They are immune from the laws of the country.
The commissioner and his senior officers are at the whim of the power elites and work under duress. At the lower rungs, their subordinates fleece the citizenry for crumbs and a dime to quench their thirst for a pint of beer and a tray of lamb flaps.
In a typical day, a typical pub owner or taxi driver fears a hold up and a bus driver or street vendor faces a high chance of being robbed by police.
PMV bus drivers and crew members have more ordeals with police than they do with thugs.
A driver or crew can be killed for a minor offence, or indeed no offence at all, by a drunken or weedizzled cop. In fact, consuming alcohol and smoking weed whilst on duty is openly tolerated at some police stations.
Ask any motorist in Port Moresby to tell their story and they will scare you with the specifics of how bent coppers ply their thuggery whilst hallucinating.
The police promptly show up at the doorsteps of Asians and power elites with sirens blazing after a single call. But there’s no similar reaction to a mother, a street vendor, a school or a ‘call girl’ or any other common citizen.
The police only respect Asian entrepreneurs and their hosts, the power elites. Their modus operandi scares common citizens and they fear the police more than sanguma [sorcery] or the rascal gangs.
The cops also use their government vehicles, uniforms and guns to run their own businesses during official hours.
The RPNGC and the rest of the criminal justice system also seem to have a bond with the power elites and Asians where verdicts to sentence or acquit are at their whim.
In fact, the police astutely serve as ‘band-way-bandits’ or ‘hired-guns’ in the criminal justice system by destroying evidence in return for cash or unnecessarily coercing citizens or locking people in the cells in exchange for a stipend.
High ranking cops have been seen in the company of Asians and criminals wining and dining and accepting bribes in exchange for not pursuing, or selectively pursuing, an investigation or arrest.
Civil society is lamenting the level of corruption, wrecking and pillaging by these bent coppers. The citizens refer to them as ‘Two Kina Police’ which translates as having a thirst or craving for money.
Consequently many people forecast that if the RPNGC continues to be rogue and corrupt, it will encounter opposition from the citizens that will turn this country on its head.
The gunning down by police of the young man, Solian, at the Kookaburra Flyover in Port Moresby last Wednesday drew overwhelming condemnation and hate messages on social media. A warning of things to come.
PNG is already becoming a dangerous place to live where bent coppers, power elites and Asian traders collude with the criminal justice system to circumvent the arm of law.
Can customary justice be very far away?
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability index ranks PNG on the lower rung of 140 countries, stagnating at number 137. The bent coppers have contributed immensely to give PNG this shameful and undignified place.
There are some good police but they are coerced, spied on and eventually sieved away to the fringes or made to retire by the syndicate of bent coppers and power elites.
Crooked police are an unambiguous enemy of society and they need to purged or locked up in a place where no other humans dwell. But that is a mammoth task and PNG needs a leader like Singapore’s late Lee Kwan Yew or a cop like Australia’s Peter Ryan to overhaul and transform the force.
Lee and Ryan have both transformed their police into largely corruption free and respected forces. PNG needs to study how they did it.
The people of PNG natives demand that their government make corruption within the RPNGC a high-risk crime.
There must be structures to promote and maintain high standards of honesty, integrity and ethical behaviour. The recruitment and training of police officers need to be revamped.
But unless the power elites change and uphold the law to the letter, the bent coppers will remain only as good as their masters.
The rot starts at the top and trickles down the food chain.
There are exceptions to every rule and Lee Kwan Yew is a possible candidate however there were and are those who point the finger to his authoritative methodology and how for every action there is a reaction.
As Ol' Abe once said: "You can only please all of the people some of the time."
Someone explained to me recently that the reason things get out of control is because there allowed to.
Why not try and form a citizen's consultative committee that has the approval and involvement of the RPNGC Commissioner of Police?
Posted by: Paul Oates | 20 December 2017 at 08:10 AM
In some ways you are lucky in PNG.
Sure, your senior police are just puppets of O'Neill but your average cop on the beat is just some poor bastard trying to make a buck through corruption. There doesn't seem to be anything organised about the way the cops operate apart from similar modus operandi i.e. heavy hands with sticky fingers.
Here in Australia we are facing the militarisation of our police force in the style of the Americans. If you watch Australian television you will have noticed the new dark uniforms and all the guns and body armour.
Our police in South Australia, a tin pot state on the edge of the desert, have just been issued with the latest US military rifles. Why this is so I'm not sure. Maybe we are expecting an invasion from Victoria.
Mutton Dutton has just been made head of a super homeland security department.He is the twit who put our customs officers into military style uniforms and gave them guns. He's an ex-walloper from Queensland who has wet dreams about Robo Cop.
The main function of the cops in the US, who now have tanks and missile launchers at their disposal, is to protect the interests of the corporate section. They do this by beating up and murdering black people among other things.
When you see your cops standing routinely outside Steamies in body armour toting grenades and AK47s it will be time to really worry.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 19 December 2017 at 10:03 PM
The shooting of the boy near the Erima flyover is another of the familiar stories associated with police, that will die a natural death!
There are some things for this country that are clearly on the wall for everyone to see!
Posted by: John K Kamasua | 19 December 2017 at 05:11 PM
Whereas "Police reassure parents of probe into shooting of boy" (The National, 18/12/2017), the news item smacks of amelioration of public dissent. A nation awaits, but for how long?
While one wants to support endeavours of constabulary seniority including Metropolitan Superintendent Perou N’Dranou, question is why did it happen that a "15-year-old Joe Michael was shot at Erima near the Kookaburra Flyover".
What admission needs to be seen that for their employment, earnings and education, the police seniority have too little to evidence continuity, IF, as portrayed by Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin, essential control is ineffective.
Will there be resignations? By seniority personnel, by bureaucratic facilitators, by political appointees, by police 'buck stops here' parliamentarian(s)?
Where The National reporter might sooner help Papua New Guinea be "more than a corporate destination", free of the 'problems of experiencing rubbish', and playing "a major role in contributing to the country's economy" fishing for truths among trouts than touts, hope is that netting yields not only of soothe but of sooth.
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 19 December 2017 at 10:09 AM