Arrested PNG cop may have been trying to help

8:45 pm on 23 May 2017

A senior Papua New Guinea policeman arrested for allegedly unlawfully recruiting civilians probably had public interest at heart, according to police hierarchy.

The Police Internal Affairs directorate says Sergeant Jimmy Maiko of Gordons police station in Port Moresby was charged with raising an unauthorised force.

Papua New Guinea police officers watch on during a protest rally in 2013.

Papua New Guinea police officers watch on during a protest rally. Photo: AFP

Sgt Maiko was accused of recruiting 17 civilians, acquiring police uniforms for them and deploying them for police duties in the Gordons market area where crime is persistent.

But the capital's assistant police commissioner, Sylvester Kalaut, said while the police force wasn't entirely aware of the sergeant's move, there was a possibility it was for a good purpose.

He said something was required to address the lack of police manpower at Gordons, citing common incidents of theft and rape, and even the killing of a policeman.

"We need to have at that market a police presence," explained Mr Kaluat.

"The sergeant organised youths from that area, especially the sons of police officers. And they were engaged to provide security, police presence at the market."

Mr Kaluat said contrary to local media reports, Internal Affairs arrested the sergeant last month, not last week.

The assistant commissioner also suggested local media had jumped the gun by saying Sgt Maiko was forming an illegal police force.

"If that was done in the good interest of the organisation and in the interests of public safety of everyone at the Gordons market, then we can't say that it is an illegal force.

"Anyway, we respect that the sergeant was arrested by Internal Affairs. Let the matter be sorted out and determined by the courts. When we know the outcome, we'll take it on from there."

Sylvester Kalaut said he felt the personnel who Sgt Maiko recruited could still be deployed as special constables by the Police Commissioner for a period of six months, as there was a need for their role.