The police in Bougainville are calling on the chiefs in the Buin region to step up to counter the lawlessness there.
A forum on Monday in Buin, called by the autonomous Papua New Guinea region's police minister, Willie Masiu, brought the chiefs together to look for solutions to the problem.
The Bougainville police commander, Deputy Commissioner Francis Tokura, says establishing law and order in the south is vital ahead of the planned referendum on independence from PNG.
He says there was a good turnout at the meeting and the chiefs recognised they have to play a greater role.
"The only problem that they have is they are not getting together to discuss solutions, transitions - how they are going to address these civil issues. I call it civil because they are basic issues that they, as chiefs can address, instead of letting it come into the hands of police."