No courthouse, Mendi police in a bind

Police in Mendi are currently faced with a relentless challenge to deal with remandees as there are no courthouses for detainees and remandees to attend.

Resources and logistical support to move detainees and remandees to the nearest courthouse in Ialibu, Nipa or Mt Hagen, is proving to be an administrative and logistical quandary. The only Provincial Correctional Institution has also been closed to accommodate new intakes.

 Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Crimes, Hodges Ette, said it is a daily challenge and continuously exerting serious strain on their meager resources and logistics.

“Once a complaint is lodged at the station, we have to decide whether to make an arrest or not. Otherwise potential of making an arrest may not be viable at this time.

“Any minor arrest like drunk and disorderly will be cautioned and released on the understanding that both parties agreed to settle matter out of court, or otherwise if arrest has to be made then we have no option but to allow bail for most if not for all minor offences,” he said.

“And arrests done for serious offences and some minor offences which are going to the court, the difficulties we face is to make arrest and bring them to court outside of Mendi which is causing a strain on our resources in fuel, vehicle and manpower to escort them back and forth, and for those remanded in police custody after court we have to feed them.”

Ette, who is currently in Mendi, is also overseeing the office of the Divisional Commander for Highlands West Command. He said even if they make the arrests, Buiebi has already been closed by authorities and it is a daunting task to detain them back in the police lock-up, which will be another stress to the police cell block capacity.

However, the Commander said this does not stop them from making arrests for both major and minor cases. Their personnel are managing the difficult circumstances and attending to all complaints as best as they could under the difficult circumstances on case-by-case basis. With the current situation on the ground as it is, they may begin to attend to those very serious matters only.

“Our personnel can make arrests for both serious and minor cases but depending on the circumstances or the nature of the offence. We are taking into consideration our capacity and ability to bringing those detained and or remanded to the courts, which is throwing caution to us on causes of action available to us to take,” the acting Assistant Commissioner said.

Press release