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Restructure of PNG police planned

Wednesday 27 May 2015 | Published in Regional


PORT MORESBY – While announcing a restructure of Papua New Guinea’s constabulary, new police commissioner Garry Baki says he will also review a policing arrangement that has 73 Australian Federal Police officers deployed in the country.

The unarmed AFP officers work with local police personnel in the capital Port Moresby and Lae to provide training as

part of the deal with PNG to host the Manus Island detention centre.

Baki said the current group of AFP officers appeared not to have reporting responsibilities to his office, which he said raised concerns the partnership was not in line with PNG police modernisation objectives.

“The question to be asked is - is the partnership in its current form ideal to our current situation, or does it need improvement?,” Baki said. “That is the sole reason why I will be revisiting it.”

Baki said he would meet the Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes to discuss the memorandum of understanding between the two forces.

Baki took over the role of commissioner this month after his predecessor, Geoffrey Vaki, was sacked by the government.

Prime minister Peter O’Neill earlier this year warned local police against the use of excessive force, after an outcry from residents in Hanuabada village in Port Moresby, where police were accused of shooting dead two men.

Meanwhile, Baki has also announced that the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary will have major organisational restructure suit the changing times for a better policing.

Baki said changes were needed to meet and respond to the changing environment and to address the needs of the government, the business community and the people.

The Highlands region would be split into Eastern and Western commands.

Eastern Regional Command would cover Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Eastern Highlands and Chimbu Provinces. Western Regional Command would cover Hela, Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces.

Similarly, Momase would be split into two commands – Border Command which would comprise Western Province, East Sepik and West Sepik Provinces; and Morobe-Madang and Lae Metropolitan Command.

Central Province would be taken out of the NCD-Central Command to join the Southern Command.

NCD Command would be a command of its own. This command was too big and needed a dedicated command specifically for the city of Port Moresby.

“My intention as Police Commissioner is to bring policing to the people. Much of our policing challenges are in NCD. NCD is Papua New Guinea. It is a melting pot of 840 different languages, cultures and customs.”

NCD would be restructured into three main policing areas according to the existing three electorates with three “mega police stations” in each of the electorates.

Each of these mega stations will be commanded by a district superintendent who would report to the NCD metropolitan commander.

“I will be seeking government support to build these new mega police stations with bigger holding cells and more resources as well as maintain the existing eight police stations in NCD,” he said.