The National, Wednesday November 6th, 2013
By ELIZABETH MIAE
THE Police Association of Papua New Guinea has welcomed the presence of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in the country with open arms.
National president Leuth Nidung said yesterday that the union was very supportive of having AFP officers work alongside their counterparts from the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC).
“We feel that we need the assistance and the expertise. We’d like to work with them and learn as much as possible to increase our productivity level in time management, work and discipline,” he said.
When asked to comment on the concerns raised by the AFP’s union that its members were being placed at unnecessary risk, Nidung said despite much publicity on crime, local police did not often face situations in which they had to use firearms.
He said it would take time for the AFP officers to familiarise themselves with the law and order situation in the country but he was confident that they would learn from their RPNGC counterparts.
Thirty AFP officers are already in the country and an additional 20 will be arriving next month. Thirty-seven will be based in Port Moresby at the Boroko police station and 13 at the Lae metropolitan police station.
In a media briefing in Port Moresby last Friday, Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes, pictured, told reporters that the current nature of the deployment was different to that of the contingent that was in the country under the enhanced cooperation programme.
According to Stokes the AFP officers would not: Replace or take over the role of any RPNGC officers; undertake executive policing functions; and arrest or charge any person for an offence against PNG domestic law.
“AFP officers will accompany RPNGC officers on foot patrols, vehicle patrols and visits to suburban police stations.”
Stokes added that each of the AFP officers would be in the country for a year.
Supt Terry Allen from the AFP’s Papua New Guinea-Australia Policing Partnership told the briefing: “The advisory role is for members of the AFP to influence the RPNGC officers to change with a lot of activities and we hope through mutual respect and discussions that it would work.”