PNG police reassured as Australian officers begin patrols

PAPUA New Guinea Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga has moved to reassure local officers that no jobs will be lost as Australian Federal Police start high-profile patrols.
PNG police reassured as Australian officers begin patrols PNG police reassured as Australian officers begin patrols PNG police reassured as Australian officers begin patrols PNG police reassured as Australian officers begin patrols PNG police reassured as Australian officers begin patrols

Kulunga said AFP officers would not take over local jobs or displace any member of the Royal PNG Constabulary.

"For members of the Royal PNG Constabulary, I want you to be rest assured that the AFP officers are not here to take your jobs, nor will they undertake executive policing functions or arrest or charge any person for an offence against PNG laws," Kulunga said.

"As of this week, they will provide advisory support to members of the Royal PNG Constabulary in Port Moresby and later in Lae," he added.

The AFP officers will work in partnership with the RPNGC to improve law-enforcement capabilities, logistics and infrastructure project management development, and raise professional standards along with fraud and anti-corruption.

Kulunga said discipline, command and control, accountability and proper training and resourcing had been areas which had been very challenging for the constabulary over the last 10 years.

By the end of the year a total of 50 AFP officers will work in an advisory role to the PNG police force under Operation Copperplate.

The first 30 AFP officers to be deployed to Papua New Guinea (PNG) under a new agreement arrived in Port Moresby on Monday.

Concerns have been raised by the AFP Association about the officers being deployed without sworn powers, which could make them an easy target during the high-profile deployment in Port Moresby and Lae.

But the AFP said deployment would involve officers working alongside their PNG counterparts in a program to boost community policing operations in PNG.

Speaking at the arrival, AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said the expansion of the arrangement led into the next phase of the PNG-Australia Policing Partnership.

"The goal of our enhanced mission is, in partnership with the RPNGC, to continue to develop the capacity of the RPNGC to provide sustainable and quality policing to the people of PNG," Negus said.

"I would like to particularly thank Commissioner Kulunga, whose support to the PNG-APP has been fundamental to its recent success.

"Without his strong leadership and vision for the future of policing in Papua New Guinea, all of this would not have been possible."

AFP said officers would not have policing powers in PNG but would provide advice, guidance and assistance for a range of day to day policing matters.

Specific areas include community policing, station management and supervision, community liaison, traffic operations, criminal investigations and dealing with sexual offences.

Officers will spend 12 months on deployment and will remain under the direction of Mission Commander Alan Scott.

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