PAPUA NEW GUINEA POLICE UNDER MICROSCOPE

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 9) – The Papua New Guinea police force will come under the microscope of a review team that will be headed by a National and Supreme Court judge, Acting Prime Minister Moses Maladina announced yesterday.

The review will look into administration and operational aspects aimed at improving discipline. 

It is the first of such exercise since independence and it comes at a time when 250 Australian police personnel are about to be deployed in PNG.

It also comes at a time when there is public outrage at police brutality against what appears to be innocent people, the latest being an attack on a Port Moresby night club manager who went to report an armed robbery at the Waigani police station last Sunday morning. 

It was alleged that four drunken policemen belted him with a chain and kicked and punched him.

Only last week, police also assaulted and swore at photographer Ekar Keapu of this newspaper and smashed his camera. 

Police Commissioner Sam Inguba had promised an investigation but the newspaper is still waiting to hear of results of that investigation. The newspaper will sue the Police Department to recover the cost of the camera. 

All over the country, there have been numerous cases of police brutality and destruction of property, resulting in about K60 million in damages awarded by the courts against the State.

The acting Prime Minister said Cabinet had endorsed a recommendation for the establishment of a team to review the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

The review would look at all aspects of administration and operation and the Cabinet had directed the Minister for Internal Security Bire Kimisopa to appoint the five-member review team, to be headed by the judge.

"The review is an integral component of a rebuilding exercise that the government has initiated to restore the morale and discipline within the rank and file of the force.

"The administrative review is the first step towards rebuilding to strengthen the command structure of the RPNGC," Mr Maladina said.

He said the review would start in January 2004 and the government had allocated K500,000 in the 2004 national budget to cater for the exercise. 

"The team will report back in six months with a set of recommendations to the Minister, who will in turn inform Cabinet," Mr Maladina said.

He said the team would travel to all major police establishments in the country and hold meetings with various sectors of the community and gauge their views on how best to reshape the force.

"It will identify weaknesses in the administration and operational aspects of the force and propose ways to address them. 

"The review will embrace corporate performance of the force with greater emphasis on achieving the government's stated objectives of good governance and export-driven economy," Mr Maladina said.

The 2004 budget allocation for police is K121 million.

Meanwhile, the Australian government plans to send the 250 officers to help in areas where PNG is deficient in handling. 

The Australian police personnel will be spread out in hot spots such as Lae, Mount Hagen, Port Moresby and Bougainville.

Finer details of the Australian police engagement will be discussed later this week during the PNG-Australia ministerial forum, which gets underway in Adelaide, Australia, on Thursday. The PNG delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu.

According to reports already published in this newspaper, the engagement of Australian police will be funded through AusAID at the cost of K1 billion over a five-year period - this is additional to the annual commitment Australia has with PNG that is worth about K700 million.

December 9, 2003

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

 

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