9 Aug 2006

Bougainville seeks help from New Zealand to build police skills and experience

4:06 pm on 9 August 2006

The autonomous government in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says it needs international help to build skills at the senior management level of its police force.

The Bougainville police force is just over a year old and many of its 187 officers are new recruits.

Australia had previously sent officers in a mentoring role but they were withdrawn after Canberra's Enhanced Co-operation Package collapsed.

A five-person New Zealand police team has been overseeing the establishment of community policing throughout the province but the Vice President of the ABG, Joseph Watawi, says they have approached New Zealand asking for additional assistance.

"We have basically got our young men in and we need to beef it up,, particularly trying to foster in the discipline that is required, and we still need some senior management to be put in place and at the moment we are lacking that."

Mr Watawi says Australia and the PNG police could also provide help.