State spends millions on police abuse cases

The State has spent over K131 million in compensation on police abuse cases.

Solicitor General Faith Barton said payouts had been made since 1992.

This was revealed during her presentation at the annual Police Commissioners conference in Kimbe, West New Britain Province, yesterday.

On top of this, over 8600 cases of State Litigation are now registered with the Solicitor Generals’ office, of which 19 percent relate to police abuse.

She said due to the rise of public complaints against police, the Office of Solicitor General has formed a dedicated team tasked with the responsibility of attending to these cases.

The Constabulary has also posted three of its legal officers at the Office of the Solicitor General in a bid to reduce the number of state litigation leveled against them.

Barton said as a result of this concerted government effort, some positive outcomes were achieved but the accumulative cases are still quite high.

She said 60 to 70 percent of these cases were results of police negligence, in which police officers had acted outside the scope of their operational requirements. The lack of communication between police and the Office of the Solicitor General often resulted in default judgments obtained against the State.

Barton challenged the commanders and provincial police commanders (PPCs) to enforce discipline so as to reduce the number of police abuse cases happening across the nation.

She also appealed to the divisional commanders and their PPCs to help their provincial offices when they ask for instructions on a certain matter against police. In this way, they would fast track many of their pending cases.

She said they can handle most of those cases, it’s just that police personnel do not update them.

(File picture of a woman who was recently bashed up, allegedly by police)

Press release