Former PNG military commander says police force is broken
PNG's former military commander says the country's police force is broken and incompetent and unable to carry out its constitutional duty.
Papua New Guinea's former military commander says the country's police force is broken and incompetent and unable to carry out its constitutional duty.
Major General Jerry Singirok says last week's alleged shooting of two betel nut vendors in a Port Moresby suburb, as well as a number of other police killings since the start of the year shows the force lacks command and control.
General Singirok, who chaired a review into the police in 2005, says none of that report's 244 recommendations have been adopted by the government, which could have resolved a number of the force's current issues.
He told Jamie Tahana that the Police Commissioner needs to clamp down on rogue officers.
JERRY SINGIROK: There's some serious breakdowns in command and control, there's a serious breakdown in personal discipline and I believe that these incidents are a worrying time for Papua New Guinea because all the signs and symptoms of an organisation that is incompetent, that is unable to carry out its constitutional task is so evident, and if the police commissioner cannot put his rogue policemen in line or take disciplinary action then we're bound to end up in a failed state.
JAMIE TAHANA: How broken would you suggest the police force is? I mean, would the police commissioner be able to bring them under control because as we saw last year we saw the police divided into two basically over the arrest warrant against Peter O'Neill. Can order be put in to this police force?
JS: The command and control, let me say that in the middle rankings, and there's some very very excellent senior police officers still able to do their tasks, but at the moment they seem to not have that ability to control, so obviously the issue of command and control is critical to the whole structure and conduct of police men and women.
JT: So what needs to happen? How could you put this command and control into the Papua New Guinea constabulary?
JS: Well other than the other long term strategies, which is basically retraining, there was a police review report published in 2005 that addressed the whole issue of police operations including command and control. Those reports have not been adopted yet, it's not reflected in the day-to-day operations of the police force, so obviously it's time now for the government to put the police commissioner and his senior police officers on line and tell them to perform or else they should look for another job, simple as that.
JT: Could this stuff that we've been seeing lately have been avoided if the recommendations in the 2005 report been put in place?
JS: Yes, there were two reports. One was the review of the police force and the other one was the guns control report, they came back-to-back they were produced and presented to the government back-to-back. Had the government adopted those two reports respectively the police force would not face some of their problems now. In it, it addresses some serious issues of discipline, an internal police ombudsman, there were a whole list of recommendations. I was the chairman of the guns control committee and we had 244 recommendations, and part of the recommendations was basically to address the issue of illegal use of weapons by the members of the disciplined forces and we recommended that relevant acts like the police act and the defence force act be reviewed to look at the criminal aspect of guns for illegal purposes. We've missed the opportunity and I've suggested to the government that it adopts the 2005 report immediately so that at least some work can be done because it's a process. But that doesn't solve our immediate problem, our immediate problem is that the police commissioner and police senior officers should take serious, serious remedial action to what's happening to the police force with rogue policemen on the streets.
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