Need for policing boost in Bougainville - MP

11:59 am on 9 September 2019

A Bougainville MP says policing in the autonomous region needs a huge boost, with November's independence referendum approaching.

Timothy Masiu

Timothy Masiu Photo: PNG Parliament

Timothy Masiu said police need to be involved in working to raise awareness for the referendum, which is scheduled for November.

While the South Bougainville MP said there aren't any specific security threats, general law and order was an issue.

"The police service in Bougainville needs a lot of attention. They need a lot of logistics, funding, manpower. There is a lot to do still on Bougainville as we go through this phase, this stage of approaching the referendum."

Timothy Masiu said he was happy Papua New Guinea's government had approved a Bougainville police request for 2 million US dollars in funding.

Meanwhile, Francis Tokura has effectively returned to the role ni charge of the Bougainville police service, after a short stint as national police chief.

In July, Mr Tokura was appointed PNG's acting police commissioner but last week the government replaced him with David Manning.

The move came after Mr Masiu questioned police minister Bryan Kramer over Mr Tokura's elevation to the top role.

Mr Masiu says he had been worried that the appointment left Bougainville police without a head as November's independence referendum approached.

"I never had any thought that because of my question that the acting commissioner would be asked to go back to Bougainville. Never did I have that in mind," he explained.

"I just asked a straight forward question and I am surprised that they (the government) are using that question as the tipping point in some of the things that they are supposed to be addressing in the police force, to actually transfer back Mr Tokura back to Bougainville. I thought his three months are not up yet."