​Security response units deployed to highlands

​Despite a delay in deployment due to funding issues, security response units have been sent up to the highlands region after the launch last Friday in Mt Hagen.

The units will commence on Saturday, 3rd of June, 2017.

This will allow for them to be prepositioned in the areas before they take delivery of the ballot boxes and papers coming into the polling areas at the end of June.

The response units have mostly been deployed into high risk areas.

Intelligence operatives have been doing assessments for the last six to seven months.

According to Commissioner for Police, Gari Baki, most areas in the highlands region are considered high risk.

“A lot of attention and focus will be given to Hela, Southern Highlands and Enga as this is where the operations will be starting off.”

He adds that Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Chimbu provinces will not be ruled out as well.

“Assessments have also indicated that there is high risk of incidents happening in the three provinces as well.”

However, Baki says he is satisfied with preparations done by the provincial police commanders and divisional commanders.

“I have delegated the authority for the conduct of the elections to the divisional commanders so the operations are actually decentralised at this point in time.”

He adds that the responsibility is now with divisional commanders to prepare, plan and execute their operational plans consistent to the situation on the ground and as assessed by the intelligence operatives.

Baki is confident that come June 3, they will deploy and commence on the actual polling where security personnel will be prepared to assist the Electoral Commission.

Annette Kora