The National, Monday 13th May 2013
By MALUM NALU
AUSTRALIAN police are to return to Papua New Guinea under a joint declaration signed by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Papua New Guinea counterpart Peter O’Neill last Friday.
Australian will be pumping in A$50 million to get the programme off the ground as soon as possible.
It will also help PNG recruit its next police commissioner from overseas.
The programme will involve 19 Australian Federal Police personnel and four externally recruited officers, at a cost of A$56. 6 million over four years.
“We discussed law and order and assistance to police in PNG,” Gillard told a joint press conference with O’Neill.
“This is a very important issue.We will provide assistance which will provide support of high calibre retired senior police officers into line positions including as assistant commissioner, and head of the training college.
“We want to make sure we are capacity building in the PNG police.We will be doing that through advisers, senior policemen for mentoring and training.
“The police programme we are announcing today has more than A$50 million of investment. We certainly want to get started as soon as possible.
“We are certainly prepared to work closely with PNG in the international recruitment of the next police commissioner.”
O’Neill said the programme would be run differently from the Enhanced Cooperation Programme which was an initiative of the Howard government. It was scuttled in 2005 after a PNG Supreme Court granted an order sought by former Morobe governor Luther Wenge against immunity given to Australian officers.
“The agreement does not reflect the ECP style of policing,” he said.
“But the immediate engagement will be in line positions with our existing police force situation, in particular to improve our training, so that we can build up our numbers.
“We are also asking the Australian government to extend our prosecution training because of shortfalls in that area.”