Police accused of negligence

Wednesday August 01, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

Victims of recent burglaries and an attempted arson have accused police of negligence in dealing with the cases that have been lodged with them.


They have raised concerns regarding the police service’s “very slow” response to their complaints, including calls made regarding the recent fires in Rarotonga which destroyed three commercial buildings.

One of the complaints also involved unsupervised juveniles doing damage to a property at the Punanga Nui Market.

The matter was reported to the police, but in a Facebook post the complainant said no one bothered to come and check the damage done.

However, police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said their officers do respond on updates and follow-ups when complaints are lodged with them.

He said the police service’s Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) manages multiple files on burglaries, adding that there is a degree of patience required while steps get underway with investigations.

“The police blotter is not as straightforward as we would like or imagine, and as you know the incidents have recently been complicated by the fires,” said Pitt. “All burglaries are treated as priority,” he added.

“I have mentioned previously that juvenile crime has been exacerbated by a lack of controlled supervision and the court has been reluctant to come down hard, despite pleas from the police.

“Curfews and bail conditions are constantly being breached, almost on a daily basis.

“The police cannot be everywhere at once but the resources are stretched to try and monitor the movements of known offenders. Offenders are regularly arrested on contempt charges.”

Last month, the Ports Authority reported an incident of attempted arson/burglary but were disappointed with the lack of response from the police.

According to security officers on duty at the Avatiu harbour, the attempted arson/burglary incident occurred around 11.40pm on July 10, just before the midnight changeover time for security staff.

Ports security staff could not confirm that the suspect had an accelerant, but two ports security officers pursued on foot and motorbike. They were unsuccessful in apprehending the suspect however.

The security staff did manage to get the motorbike registration number of the alleged perpetrator.

Whilst the incident was reported to police on the night, no one arrived to take statements from the Ports security officers.

“Ports Authority have forwarded an incident report to the Police Central Intelligence Bureau (CIB), copying police in charge of CIB, Inspector Areumu Ingaua, and indicating that the Ports Authority would like to press charges based on the motorbike registration number,” said Bim Tou, Ports Authority chief executive officer.

“We requested they advise us as to what the next processes to proceed with an arrest are if it is at all possible based on the incident report.”

A person directly affected by one of the recent fires in Rarotonga, who did not wish to be named, also raised concerns about the slow police response to warnings about the blaze.

“The police are spending too much time on pomp and ceremony, specifically holding a parade out the front of the police station for trivial things like a police dog retiring, these even including the Minister of Police,” the person said. “It’s a waste of everyone’s time.”

“The police do the haka at the drop of a hat. It was unheard of five to 10 years ago. They can’t wait to disrupt the public by stopping or redirecting traffic and their morning 8am flag-raising ceremony would be a prime example.

“The police should be judged solely on their ability to fight crime and solve crime (catch criminals), not on how they look on parade.”  

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