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Trial of Santo Cases Must be Expedited

Over the course of one year and eight months , Campaign for Justice (C4J) has been working on 19 outstanding cases which were filed in 2018 with the Police in Santo. Over this period of time C4J has supported the Police in submitting documented reports to help police with their investigations. While Campaign for Justice has been actively following up on these cases in the interest of justice, it is clear police may be dragging their feet with the progress of the cases moving at the snail’s pace. It raises a lot of questions about the ability of the police to handle the complaints and to follow due processes through until the cases reach the courts. We ask again: ‘Will the people concerned obtain justice in due time? Do the police appreciate that delays can be highly costly for those concerned?’ Not only that, it’s the integrity of the police that is being seriously called into question.

Northern District Police Headquarters

A lack of consistency in police handling of cases lodged with them contributes directly to injustices that are happening around our beautiful country.

Campaign for Justice further questions: ‘What happened to the Australian funded Police Information System (PIMS)?

The system was introduced as a data control base solution for better management of cases and was meant to do away with the old manual system for registration of cases.

From what C4J has been observing it is clear there so much weakness resulting in the slow processing of cases by the police, not only in Santo but everywhere. We have covered and highlighted much of these in our past work. You can read about it here.

Campaign for Justice will not stop and will seek to expose all that is holding up progress.


1. PIMS – Police Information System (PIMS) was introduced as a project called “Yumi stretem rod blong jastis by the Ministry of Justice and regarded as data control base solution for the better management of cases. Collective inputs of reported cases lodged to the Police are recorded in this data system and connected to other law enforcement agencies to access information where they are once they are tabbed into the system. With the establishment of this data system sometime in 2016, it was meant to do away with the old manual system for the registration of cases. However, what the C4J experienced and encountered with the cases lodged to the Police is that it lacks the expectation of what it was created for initially, has become an incumbent system that is not working in the best interests of the public who are victim of the injustices and do not have the means to access.

2. The data network system PIMS is the key initiative that should solved the issue with the management of cases and the monitoring system in place when a case is reported until its final outcome in the courts. That being said remains a challenge with the demand of cases being reported to the Police how they are coping with outstanding cases to complete and getting it to the Prosecution for the final process in the courts.

3. With that, the new direction and approach of the C4J renewed concept is to Confront and Expose, the mentality of the system when it comes to accessing information, which has not changed from the perspective of the Police and the Prosecutions management systems. Obviously, what the C4J had encountered in our approach with the Police and Prosecution it seemed quite certain the organizational systems is still bound by its inability to provide information right there when it is needed and which we have experienced a lot of excusal delay.

Police Command Structure:

The Vanuatu Police Command Structure requires that in every command sector there is a senior officer who is in charge of the duties and responsibilities in the daily operations.  Whenever possible, a senior officer of the hierarchy of command goes on leave, a senior level of command would have to take the acting responsibility in the absence of the commander. From the context order in the hierarchy of the Northern District Command Centre in Luganville Santo comprises of the Assistant Commissioner Police (ACP) who is responsible for the overall command, his deputy who is a Chief Inspector and then there is Officer In charge of the front line Policing operations who is a senior inspector. It is vitally important that the command structure is stable whenever a situation arises which requires the immediate responsible officer to exercise command and control over any security operations. Obviously in the recent case of the Municipal Election in Santo, a sergeant who supervises the shift at the front line was given acting position as the Officer In charge of the Police station (OCPS), a three rank difference of a rank from  a senior Inspector.

Mass Police Retirement

The impact of the mass retirement of Police officers in 2017 has impacted significantly on the demand of command structure issue and the capacity required with the duties and responsibilities during a major event. The component of the hierarchy of the Police system is obviously seen as an imbalance in the overall strength and the impact is prevalent in the capacity to manage duties and responsibilities as expected from the public. The challenges of providing professional services is becoming a burden that bears heavily on the system with the demand of services which lacks the resources, strength to carry out a duty of care as expected, thus the burden of responsibility is vested on those in high authority to seriously address the issues. Looking back at the prevailing situation it is obvious the whole process was a failure and lacked the inconsistencies the effect it has the current management of the duties and responsibilities in their daily operations.

New Promotions

Proper management in the criminal justice is prevalent where cases were being reported into the Police systems and becoming ideally stuck even with data systems, no proper supervision and management of providing the feedback to a simple victim of case. The purpose of the investigation trip to Santo was to actually confront the Police and carry out cross balance checks with their data system of recording and management of the cases. Recently there was a big number of subordinates who were promoted to corporal and sergeants respectively had filled the gaps left by the retired experience and skilled officers, which still impart on the performances on the newly promoted junior officers who have served less than 10 years in active duty. Most of our cases were being reported to the Police in Santo were entered into the data system and connected to the main data control centre in Vila comes directly under the jurisdiction of the Commander responsible for the Northern District Command. We observed that all the four officers responsible for daily operations have travelled for overseas trip to Australia and China respectively for training purposes. In their absence the Commander had to recall back an Inspector who is on leave to coordinate and provide security operations for the northern town municipal elections.

With the list of 19 outstanding cases which were reported in 2018 to the Police and after some many times in trying to get update information on the status of the cases, We have finally decided to confront the system and expose the incompetency’s of how the system works and the inconsistencies of realities affecting not only the C4J, but to an ordinary person out here who has no means to access justice continue to be victim of injustices from the system.

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