Police saved many lives during ‘Operation Noel’
“Despite limited logistics we had and many disturbances that occurred over Christmas and New Year celebrations, yet our men were still able to control situations that resulted in no fatal accidents reported in Port Vila nor on Efate as a whole” Commander South Vake Rakau told Daily Post yesterday as he commented on Operation Noel feedback.
“ We have had feedback from both the members of the public and members of the Force that our men who were engaged in Operation Noel to ensure peaceful celebrations achieved the objective despite many disturbances we dealt with as a result of drunkenness throughout Port Vila and on Efate generally” Commander South Rakau said.
He said 122 cases were reported during Christmas and New Year 2011 celebrations in Port Vila alone. Of the 122 cases, 44 people were arrested for drunkenness, brawls, 15 complaints were filed at the police station for noises and disturbances, 8 minor traffic incidents were reported.
Police also reported 42 cases of disorderly kind, 22 cases for damage to properties and 19 cases of misbehavior in public, 24 break-in cases and 2 reported cases for abusive languages.
Police had two main road checkpoints with one at the Korman Stadium and the other at Mele Road leading to North Efate. A total of 110 vehicles were stopped at the check points. Out this number, 101 vehicle owners or drivers were charged for traffic offenses. Police confiscated 14 vehicles because the drivers were drunk. The total amount of penalties from offenses by the drivers stands at Vt447,000 out of which Vt128,000 were paid and Vt 390,000 still owed by drivers or vehicles owners to the Police.
Police Commander South Vake Rakau said: “In my views the police had done very well despite the fact that we are poorly equipped in terms of equipment and facilities that we have at hand. We responded to practically all the calls we received.
“The role we played through Operation Noel assisted to keep the overall situation down throughout the festivities.
“Had it not for the police role especially during Operation Noel, there would have been many lost of lives as many people were drunk and became uncontrollable that families, friends, neighbours and the public at large had to depend totally on the police to calm down situations everywhere and all throughout the festivities,” Rakau commended the members of the Vanuatu Police Force.
Rakau also believed that the strategies adopted by the police to set up the check points contributed much in the overall vehicles movements’ control that resulted in no fatal car accidents reported in Port Vila and on Efate.
“We may have disturbed individual rights of the drivers whether at checkpoints or elsewhere but it did help tremendously in reducing to nil fatal accidents that could have led to deaths otherwise.
“It should be appreciated that our men worked long hours and even facing the rain and heat but again this paid off for our purpose and what we stand for.
“Once we are fully and properly equipped the moral oral of our Force Members will be self evident in the eyes of the public for what we truly stand for and that is working with our people. We appreciate the assistance of the chiefs, church leader and other community leader and even the members of the public at large for all their contributions to wards the peaceful celebrations of Christmas 2010 and New Year 2011 and the Force members wish the leader and the population of Vanuatu all success in 2011,” Rakau said.
Meanwhile, the Vanuatu Police would also like to thank the public for the “good cooperation” which resulted in no loss of life during the festive season.
The Operation Noel was officially launched by Police Commissioner Joshua Bong on the December 10, 2010, executed on December 23, 2010, and officially closed by Superintendent Vake Rakau on January 4, 2011.