Thursday, April 21, 2005

Slightly Embarrassing

From The Herald Sun:

THE reputation of Papua New Guinea's capital as one of the world's most crime-ridden cities has been given an unwanted boost with news that Port Moresby's police chief was assaulted and robbed within sight of a major police station.

Assistant Commissioner Tony Wagambie was held up and assaulted on Wednesday by six armed men who stole his vehicle, a mobile phone and a small amount of cash, a police spokesman said today. Mr Wagambie was in uniform just 400m from Port Moresby's Gordons Police Station, where Australian police assigned to help battle lawlessness in the former Australian colony are based. The incident also came just days after Mr Wagambie denied newspaper reports that there had been an upsurge in armed robberies in Port Moresby since the detachment of 145 Australian police arrived in January as part of a $US600 million ($782m) five-year aid program to fight crime and corruption in PNG.

Oops! That can't be spun in any redeeming way for that police department.

It goes to show you, though, how if police do not possess a good command presence both individually and as a department, crooks don't care. Not everyone is afraid of our pretty uniforms, shiny badges, and bad-ass guns. Many of them have cooler guns than we do anyway!

I don't know how to solve crime in Papua New Guinea, but this does serve as a lesson to departments here in the US: Don't lose your edge. Don't give up your command presence. Don't let criminals think you are pushovers. Otherwise, your chief might get robbed less than a mile from your station.

(HT: CrimProf Blog)

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