PNG TO DOUBLE SIZE OF POLICE FORCE TO 10,000

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Needed infrastructure estimated at $170 million

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 1, 2008) – Police will beef their manpower to 10,000 by 2012, and will need about PGK450 million [US$ 169.8 million] to upgrade housing and infrastructure in the country to house the increased manpower.

This was revealed by the rehabilitation of police housing steering committee headed by deputy police commissioner Tom Kulunga.

This committee had its first meeting at the police headquarters in Port Moresby last week.

In the meeting, photographs of rundown police houses captured around the country were shown to the committee members. The photographs show that police housing facilities are in a very bad state.

Mr Kulunga said according to estimates a complete rehabilitation for all run down police infrastructure throughout the country would cost over K450 million.

This year the National Government allocated K50 million [US$ 18.8 million] which will be spent on priority projects already identified by the constabulary.

Of the K50 million, four standard duplex models will be built at a total cost of K2.26 million to replace the burnt down Sipika barracks in Goroka.

The Sipika, Wau and Popondetta barracks are on Police Commissioner Gari Baki’s priority list.

The others include the Tech Barracks in Mt Hagen, Tomaringa Barracks in East New Britain, Gordon Barracks in Port Moresby, Yawasoro Barracks in Wewak and Kavugara barracks in West New Britain province.

Mr Kulunga said white goods and furniture are not included in the cost of the rehabilitation exercise, but options being looked at include collection of rent to cater for this.

Police houses in Wau were condemned by Health authorities in Morobe last year. Twenty standard duplexes and a police station commander’s house will be rebuilt there.

The rundown barracks in Oro province will receive a K6 million facelift, with six new duplexes to be built and 28 of the existing houses will be renovated.

The committee also discussed the need for more houses to be constructed to accommodate the proposed increase in manpower, which is expected to begin next year.

The constabulary is planning to increase its manpower ceiling from 4,700 to 6,300 by next year, and progressive up to 10,000 by year 2012 before the general elections.

Meanwhile, officers who have, at their own expense, carried out renovation work on their houses are unsure if their monies will be refunded from the K50 million Government allocations.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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