23 Mar 2004

Member of PNG's Institute of National Affairs says PNG police service has broken down

10:31 am on 23 March 2004

Mike Manning from the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs says the planned deployment of Australian police is needed because systems in the PNG police force have broken down.

Mr Manning contributed last year to a report called "Papua New Guinea on the Brink" put out by a Sydney think tank, which described PNG as a nation wracked with corruption, crime and a disintegrating infrastructure.

Australia later committed to sending 230 police and dozens of officials to restore law and order and the capability of key government bodies.

But Mike Manning says it is important to understand the problem in the police force is not that it is especially corrupt.

"We have a police force in which systems - command systems - have broken down, so you don't have occurance books being filled out, you don't have very basic systems working in police stations. You don't have controls to prevent misuse of official vehicles. You don't have any sort of traffic infingements, so by and large the whole system of the police force has broken down."

Mike Manning is one of a number of prominent critics of Canberra's call for its personnel to have immunity from PNG's laws.

Both countries are working on a compromise to ensure the deployment goes ahead.