5 Dec 2003

More New Zealand police to be sent to Bougainville

11:19 am on 5 December 2003

More New Zealand police are to be sent to Papua New Guiena island of Bougainville after a plea from the island.

A team of up to five police will be provided from January to reactivate a community policing project which was shelved two years ago.

The 17 person Bougainville Transitional Team is due off the island by December the 31st and the Overseas Aid Minister Marian Hobbs says this was a factor in the government's decision.

Ms Hobbs says the officers two years ago had been very effective in restoring the rule of law, and the request for them to be sent back came after a resurgence in lawlessness on the island.

She says it was a case of Bougainvilleans saying they still needed help to restore community control.

"We need an injection in there, that was the message that came to us quite clearly, we love the way that you particularly work with us. Please could could you come back and do that? Our problem was, we already have police in the Solomons and here we were being asked for more police in Bougainville. I had to get down on my knees and ask the minister of police for some ( more officers)"