2 Dec 2004

Australian police on patrol in Papua New Guinea capital

11:11 am on 2 December 2004

Today, for the first time in almost 30 years, Australian police will be on patrol in the streets of the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, with PNG police.

Nineteen Australian police have been on duty in the PNG province of Bougainville for the past three months, under the Enhanced Cooperation Programme between Australia and its near neighbour, which it administered until 1975.

Now, after more than 18 months' planning, 65 Australian police are getting down to a range of police tasks in Port Moresby.

The Australian police spokesman for ECP policing, Greg Keeley, says it's a red-letter day for all involved.

"Hitting the streets with the RPNGC officers will be approximately 24 general duties police officers, drawn out of Victorian police and the Australian federal police. On top of that number there is approximately another 40 assisting Australian police in areas such as admin, fraud, CID, anti corruption etc that will be working alongside RPNGC officers but not on general duties."

Greg Keeley says the police will focus on Port Moresby and Bougainville for the next year to 18 months before any decision is made to expand the effort to take in Lae and the Highlands Highway.