5 May 2005

PNG police give Australian counterparts ultimatum to leave country

8:54 pm on 5 May 2005

The police association of Papua New Guinea says Australia should withdraw all of its police officers sent as part of its assistance mission to the country.

The president of the association, Robert Ali, says the police commissioner, Sam Inguba, will be handed an ultimatum giving him 48 hours to arrange the withdrawal.

Mr Ali says Australian police on patrol in Port Moresby are taking over the duties of their local counterparts.

"I think it's to do with the level of their participation. The members are raising concern that not many of them are actually involved in assisting police in attending to matters, and the downside of it is that as a result of this, there has been a sudden rise in criminal activities in the nation's capital."

But, Inspector Geoff Newby of the Australian Federal Police says his officers are working in only three of the capital's eight stations.

My understanding and the feeling we get from touring those stations, and talking with the constabulary members, is that they're quite happy that we're there. They're gaining a lot of information from us and likewise us from them. And, a great amount of work's being achieved at those particular stations. That's also evidenced by the increase in the reporting of crime.

Neither the PNG police minister nor police commissioner have been available for comment.