West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel and members of the provincial government have gave an undertaking with the Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen to help fund certain projects for Correction Services and Police institutions in the province.
This was to address issues such as overcrowding, deteriorating infrastructure and several issues which concerns the welfare of Police and CS officers.
Mr Pagen and his team visited the province after receiving complaints of the deteriorating conditions of police holding cells, police stations and the deteriorating and overpopulated police staff houses.
The Ombudsman Commission noted that there was a need for the Police, the Office of the Public Prosecutor, the Office of the Public Solicitor and the Correction Services to work together in a more efficient manner to ensure they expedited hearing of the cases involving the inmates, especially those on parole and remand to prevent overcrowding.
Adding to those issues was the shortage of police personnel in the province. Governor Muthuvel stated that they needed more police personnel on the ground to address law and order issues as the province is a major economic hub and sometimes law and order gets out of hand.
He said the ceiling for the province is 200 personnel; however, currently there are only 123 police personnel in the province with most of them stationed at Kimbe town.
Mr Muthuvel said the provincial government however, has gone ahead and taken steps to address some of these issues and have initiated the following in liaison with Police and CS:
• Building of 20 new houses for police accommodation.
• Repair and maintenance of the Provincial Police Commander’s office which had its roof blown off by strong wind. The Police headquarters allocated a mere K16,000 for the repair and maintenance which wasn’t sufficient so the provincial government decided to take full responsibility of the job.
• Completed a duplex building for two families at the Buluma Police Station
• Building of a Covid testing facility at the Lakiemata jail.
• The refurbishing of the PPCs house while the PPC relocates to one of the houses owned by the West New Britain Business Trust.
• Refurbishment of the CID wing Mr Muthuvel said that the only thing they could not maintain were the police lock-ups and jail because these facilities abide by certain building requirements which will come from the Police and CS. However he said they are ready to counter-fund any development in that area.