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Letter: Law and order at risk

Monday 20 May 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letter: Law and order at risk

Dear Editor, With 30 to 40 vacancies for new Police officers, what is needed now is new Police staffing infrastructure, not more buildings and non-urgent infrastructure.

This shortage explains why law enforcement in our country is now on life support. Our roads and public places are not properly patrolled. Reckless driving is prevalent, one-wheel wheelies by young rogue drivers are common in Vaimaanga and Rutaki, drive through Arorangi about 250 metres north of Text Mart, you will find the smashed-up wreckage of a car on the side of the road, left there from a crash two weeks ago. Where’s the Police to arrange towage?   Is it because they cannot afford to pay towage?

My son and daughter-in-law filed a complaint of theft with the name and address of the offender provided, the amount of cash stolen being $60,000, over two months ago, and nothing has been done yet!

One of my clients was awarded $5000 in a successful jury trial and won a subsequent appeal with the Court of Appeal, the Police have been unable to pay after five months, and still, we wait and wait. The little people get jailed if they are unable to pay their fine. 

I have filed a number of civil actions against the Police Department for violence and misconduct against my clients. The root cause was failure by the Commissioner of Police to order investigation of my clients’ complaints. I   must thank Deputy Commissioner Akatauira Matapo who appears to be the only one carrying all the heavy loads.

Our Police service is dangerously incapacitated. We cannot afford to have the rule of law together with law and order fail right in front of our eyes.   Deterrence against crime requires massive strength, credibility, skills and capability.

We need to recruit fresh young men and women to fill this huge shortage of manpower. There are a number of us former New Zealand, Australian and other former Police officers willing to help our Police service in planning, training and helping the Police service if and whenever requested.

Minister of Police, take ownership of your shocking failure, reduce your travels and do some real work. May God bless our men and women who proudly serve in our Cook Islands Police.

Yours sincerely,

Norman George

Former Minister of Police, former Cook Islands and NZ Police