Bad policing creates conflicts: Researcher

While the SoE was to have some flexibility for the movement of essential goods and services for people to access basic services under strict guidelines from the controller, the practice has been quite the opposite.

Dr Elizabeth Kopel, a Senior Research Fellow and Program Leader with the Informal Economy Research Program, at theĀ  PNG National Research Institute made this remarks on her research paper released recently.

Dr Elizabeth Kopel, a senior researcher at the National Research Institute says there have been ongoing complaints on mainstream and social media that police in some areas are not permitting transportation of fresh food and other goods, confiscate or destroy produce, or at times collect fees for allowing access through check points.

She said such ill treatment to people, who are meant to be protected, defeats the purpose and function of policing.

Dr Kopel said it must be acknowledged that the majority of police and the SoE staff are dedicated and diligent service men and women, however, the heavy-handed style of a minority has tarnished the reputation for the majority.

The initiatives of the current SoE controller and Police Commissioner, David Manning to set up a direct phone line for the public to report any incidence or allegation of police misconduct during the SoE is a welcome change.

Dr Kopel further stressed that the SoE controller and COVID-19 response team will need to be tactful and demonstrate understanding in facilitating and permitting easy movement of fresh food and people to access markets and shops for essential goods and services, of course, with observation of strict social distancing and hygiene rules.

She said the bad style of policing will create division, resentment and conflict.

She added that we need a united front to continue the war against the virus; the invisible enemy, not amongst ourselves.

Freddy Mou