6 Sep 2004

First nine Australian police arrive in Bougainville tomorrow

7:24 pm on 6 September 2004

Nine Australian police officers will arrive on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville on Tuesday as part of the multi million dollar program to restore law and order to PNG.

The Australian state and federal police will arrive in the Bougainville capital Buka at midday, where they will receive a traditional welcome, including a foot-washing ceremony.

Australian Federal Police Inspector Steve Hubert says the Australian contingent will work with Bougainville's police officers in the towns of Buka and Arawa, before moving on to Buin in the island's south.

Inspector Hubert says the Australian police would perform duties as directed by the assistant commissioner of police in Bougainville and would assist in patrols and in the training of local police officers.

Under the five-year enhanced cooperation program, signed by Australian and PNG ministers last December, almost 300 Australian police and public officials will work with their PNG counterparts to tackle lawlessness and corruption.

All 210 police officers and 64 public officials are expected to be in place in key crime spots throughout the country, including Port Moresby and Mt Hagen by March next year.