19 Sep 2003

Academic backs proposed Australian police plan for PNG

4:26 pm on 19 September 2003

An Australian academic says if Australia police are to be sent to Papua New Guinea they should be line officer not advisors.

Australia and PNG have agreed in principle to send around 200 police to overcome what Canberra calls a law and order crisis.

Dr Sinclair Dinnen, an academic with the Australia National University specialising in law and security issues in Melanesia, says there have been advisors working with the PNG police for some time.

But he says they tend to be sidelined and it might be better if the Australian police could work as contracted line officers.

"Whilst I think there are issues of great sensitivity and no doubt there would be some degree of resistance within elements of the Royal Papua New Guinea constabulary. I suspect that the PNG government would be open to certainly discussing that and I also think that that way of delivering would be more effective than the current system."

Meanwhile, a PNG lawyer, Powes Parkop of Melanesian Solidarity, says if PNG's police force is failing, Australia should bear some of the responsibility for it.

Australia has been running the police in Papua New Guinea all this time. It is on their advice that we have this type of police . What good is it to send more police when it's already been done.

Powes Parkop of Melanesian Solidarity