Report police misconduct

The general public is urged to report any police misconduct and harassment during the extended state of emergency period.

The Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and State of Emergency Operations Commander, Donald Yamasombi, says the National Police Internal Affairs hotline number is 320 2364.

Commander Yamasombi established this toll-free number following numerous concerns raised by the public over the continuous police misconduct and harassment at the various police roadblocks and checkpoints over the last three weeks of the SOE.

Commander Yamasombi said: “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 and stop it from spreading throughout the country. This fact must not be misconceived or abused by any individual during this operation.”

He said the SOE Controller has issued specific instructions immediately after the initial 14-day lockdown on the 6th of April, adding that under the extended two-month SOE, there are only six authorised roadblocks where the ban on transportation of certain goods will remain.

“The six authorised road blocks are; Raburua, Kuradui, Uvol, Open Bay and Pundi River in East New Britain Province and Warasikau and Salamain in East Sepik Province. All other provinces were authorised to set up checkpoints to ensure the travelling public adhere to the SOE regulations and check on forbidden goods, especially betelnut (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 authorised by the Controller to impose cash spot fines or damage any forbidden goods at the checkpoints. Such actions are illegal.

“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.”

Yamasombi further called on 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.

“We have notified the respective Provincial Police Commanders to act immediately and address these issues or else they will be held accountable,” Commander Yamasombi added.

Press release