16 Mar 2005

Police deaths on Bougainville hit community police effort

8:48 pm on 16 March 2005

Moves to boost community policing on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville have suffered a temporary setback with the death of two local police in a car accident.

The two Bougainville police died last Friday night and their funerals are this week.

The head of New Zealand police on Bougainville, Superintendent Athol Soper, who's also team leader of the Bougainville Community Policing Project, says it's hit the new police service hard.

"Two officers, one a 20-year veteran, one with just eight months' service, died in a car crash on the mainland of Bougainville. The cause is still being investigated, but speed was a factor. But it is a tragic loss for the new police service."

Superintendent Athol Soper.