POLICE in the New Ireland Province had started off with election security preparations despite challenges, says Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Chief Inspector Felix Nebanat yesterday.
Mr Nebanat said the police in the province are conducting awareness on the 2022 National General Election as well as general law and order. They started last week in the Kavieng District and will move into Namatanai District next week.
Mr Nebanat said he had spoken to the Chief Executive Officer for the Social Sector Mr Ben Apelis to arrange for school awareness. This is a strategy to reach a wider range of population in the province with the election security messages.
Mr Nebanat said one of the big challenges for police is the distribution of the population in the province, with 54% of the population on the mainland while 46% are scattered on the Islands. He said the police have only one police boat which makes it quite difficult to reach all those on the Islands.
“We also need good vehicles capable of hitting the rugged road of the West Coast of New Ireland,” Mr Nebanat said.
To overcome logistical, transport and funding challenges his provincial command has decided to conduct a Trainer of Trainer (TOT) training where all police stations in the province identify representatives for their station to attend a one-day training where they will then go back and train other police men and women at their stations.
“We aim to train all our police personnel to conduct election awareness and I believe this is the best positive way given our many challenges,” said Mr Nebanat.
Mr Nebanat said manpower on the other hand continues to be a challenge. However, with the operation plan in place, New Ireland police has involved 200 community auxiliary police to boost the manpower.
“We will also be having police personnel coming in from East New Britain to assist us,” he said.
Mr Nebanat said whilst faced with many challenges, his men and women will not be deterred from their prime objective in ensuring security is provided for a free, fair and safe 2022 National General Election.