PNG To Establish Task Force To Deal With Police Brutality

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Government hopes to instill discipline, restore public respect

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 23, 2014) – The Government will set up a Police Task Force, complete with a hotline, to deal with police brutality in a move that will also strengthen the police force’s internal affairs desk.

The task force will be made of up to 30 policemen and women whose primary role would be to instill discipline and restore respect among the police and members of the public.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced in Parliament yesterday during Question Time that the task force would investigate the recent instances of police brutality of the public widely in the PNG media. He said that a telephone hotline will also be set up for the public to use and lay their complaints.

Mr O’Neill was answering questions raised by Kundiawa MP Tobias Kulang about frequent reports of police brutality in Port Moresby, saying the police force was a disgrace, fallen into disrepute.

Mr O’Neill agreed. "We see it every day, about police brutality, lack of discipline in the police force, largely because of outside influence. Many times we see this influence creeping into the police force. "Many of the policemen are serving private interests rather than the interests of the State and the people.

"When we have differences, we have the courts which deal with these matters; we shouldn’t be running around trying to create an environment where vested interests are pursued at any costs."

Mr O’Neill has ordered Police Minister Robert Atiyafa to take control of the situation. "One of the areas that we need to strengthen is the internal affairs of the police force, where police discipline and police issues about brutality and all other matters are investigated properly and of course dealt with properly." He said he was satisfied with the other disciplined forces.

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