THERE was a time when the people of Papua New Guinea lived harmoniously with nature and maintained order and peace in the manner of many primitive cultures through various rules and taboos of existence.
This way of living maintained the peace amongst the tribes and societies they inhabited.
When the colonisers came with their western style of living, they also introduced and enforced their own laws to secure order and conformance.
The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary came into existence to enforce this new model.
The work of the police isn’t easy considering the dangers they come across in the line of duty. With long hours and small pay from the government, the police these days tend not to follow protocol when they face the opportunities and challenges that come their way.
Since the days of the kiap, a lot of behavioural problems have contradicted the work of the police in terms of their moral conduct and ethics in work procedure.
Police brutality is a worldwide issue that challenges the conduct of police who have been endowed with authority to maintain order in society.
The cry of the people has been to eradicate such malpractice which causes harm rather than correction and abuses human life and property.
The public perception of police today is that they are thugs in uniform.
As a fact, there are reports in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and also primary sources of police.
A report in PNG Attitude not so long ago told of police brutality when journalist Benny Lamaisa was severely beaten in Port Moresby. The article highlighted how PNG police can be very aggressive in handling situations, especially while under the influence of alcohol (even on duty).
Mr Malaisa is chief political reporter of the Sunday Chronicle and Midweek Chronicle newspapers and his experience gives us a frightening insight into how the police feel free to attack people they see vulnerable.
As officers of the law, this conduct is unacceptable. They become know more than or thugs in uniform.
Another report by Prof Andrew Lattas told of police officers overstepping their authority in directing indigenous people in order to deliver corrupt favours to private corporations.
“Police and company directors often tell complaining villagers that the land is no longer theirs but belongs to the state which has leased it from them so as to lease it to the Malaysian companies,” Prof Lattas reported.
The local population’s continued efforts to recoup their traditional land resulted in damaged property, physical abuse and police brutality.
How can the government betray the people of Papua New Guinea when it was put there by the people to serve the interests of the people and the state?
How can an official body like the police allow its independence to slip so far away from its legal and constitutional obligations?
In the current economic boom and tormenting cost of living, the police have somewhat become thugs in their own right.
An article early last year by Ganjiki D Wayne on police brutality and police theft highlighted how the police have become thugs by looting and destroying property. The report stated that the police used brutal methods to confiscate items not as part of official police procedures but for themselves.
We understand that the police along with other public servants are overworked and underpaid and that efforts to root out rogue police officers is always a challenge to the clean cops.
But we cannot run the country properly with a police force that is as crooked as scoliosis.
We need immediate action by the appropriate government organisations to keep the RPNGC on track.
In the current political crisis flowing from Parakagate, the country faces deep divisions in the police force.
It is not for the police to take sides, they must recognise that their duty is to the law.
Brutality and partisanship by the police is an abuse of human rights and a violation of the solemn oath each man and woman swore as a member of a disciplined force.
Decent ethics and good values need to be restored to out police force. Nothing else is acceptable.