30 Aug 2004

Australian police arrive in PNG to help improve law and order

7:33 am on 30 August 2004

The first group of Australian police taking part in an assistance mission in Papua New Guinea have arrived Port Moresby.

They are part of a five-year programme to restore law and order to PNG that was agreed between Canberra and Port Moresby last December.

The 19 officers are the first part of a contingent of nearly three hundred officers and officials who will slowly be deployed in several parts of PNG, including Bougainville.

Australia's Justice Minister Senator Chris Ellison says not all of the first group of officers will be armed:

"Bougainville is a firearms free area and we respect that policy and our police will not be armed. On the mainland however, in Port Moresby and other areas on the mainland of PNG, they will be armed, and of course that has been agreed with the Papua New Guinean government."

Australia's Justice Minister Senator Chris Ellison

The Australian officers will receive training language and local cultures in Port Moresby before starting official duties.