7 May 2005

PNG police commissioner talks to staff over demand for Australian pullout

7:11 am on 7 May 2005

Papua New Guinea's police commissioner has talked to the staff union which wants Australian police to pull out from the country.

The news agency, Australian Associated Press, reports that Sam Inguba has met the Police Association president, Robert Ali, to discuss the decision by 300 union members to ask the Australian officers to leave.

Mr Ali said the police management had responded positively to concerns about pay, living conditions, working relationships with the Australians, and a rise in crime in the capital.

Commissioner Inguba also met the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, to discuss the officers' concerns, and he says the police hierarchy will be looked at.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on a constitutional challenge to the legal immunity provisions granted to Australian police, and other officials serving in PNG, under the so-called Enhanced Co-operation Programme.

The commander of Australian police in PNG, Barry Turner, has said the court case has stalled the implementation of some programmes that would benefit PNG officers.