8 Jun 2004

The PNG Government rejects an Opposition suggestion to use soldiers as police

5:46 pm on 8 June 2004

Papua New Guinea's police minister says the police and the military are currently too incompatible to join forces to fight crime.

Bire Kimisopa was reacting to suggestions by PNG's Opposition Leader, Peter O'Neill, who has called for soldiers to be seconded into the police force.

Mr O'Neill says he is concerned about the number of heavy weapons being smuggled into the country and says there are about 3000 defence force personnel who could be actively engaged to help police.

Mr Kimisopa says that while his idea has merit, it is premature.

"The two disciplinary forces operate under very different circumstances and the last thing we want to do is have them operate under one umbrella. That's not an ideal scenario for us. I think the PNG police haven't got the capacity, and until such time we improve the capacity, we won't be in a position to listen to suggestions like that."

However he says the suggestion could be explored in the future.