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24 July 2014


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Over time, I have noted some prominent televangelists, who by profession are askew from benchmarks of integrity, frequently employing the services of guest speakers known to be of integrity and consistency.

This is to draw on the heartstrings of audiences from a wider profile inclined to view the guest speakers pronouncements as worthy and correct.

There is an element of persuasion and cunning associated with this methodology that deserves repudiation by discerning listeners or viewers.

So it is that PNGeans are being assaulted by political evangelism: tactical designs foisted upon a public wearied by strife and sectarianism.

Hold your ground, Sam Koim and company.

I am heartened by Peter Turner's comments. They suggest that things are not as bad as they seem to the outside observer.

Still, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Commissioner's job has become some sort of political plaything and this must inevitably have a destabilising influence on the force as a whole.

As Peter will understand, no Premier or PM in Australia could get away with the sort of behaviour that Peter O'Neil has engaged in over the past few weeks. It is totally inconsistent with respect for the law and the legal process.

The rule of law is the bedrock foundation of a viable liberal democracy. If people come to believe that every one is not, in fact, equal before the law, then this is a recipe for anarchy.

To see what this looks like, simply cast your gaze upon much of Africa.

Consequently, it is very important that the Police Force is and is seen to be a non-partisan body operating within the clearly defined parameters of the law.

This is why the Commissioner of the RPNGC, whoever he or she may be, simply cannot afford to be viewed as a political apparatchik, put in place solely to neutralise an inconvenient problem rather than provide good leadership and direction.

With the greatest of respect for my former Kiap comrade, Chris Overland, with whom I served at Koroba in the Southern Highlands District in 1972, and who obviously has some strong views on the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, many of which I cannot disagree with, I would like to offer an ‘insiders’ comment, based on my 39 years service as a sworn member of the Constabulary.

The first 15 years were as an officer of the Field Branch and the last 24 as an enlisted member of the Reserve Branch. I want to provide a somewhat more positive view of the state of the Constabulary.

Far from suffering from poor leadership, the team led by Sir Toami Kulunga OBE QPM DPS, acknowledged throughout the Constabulary as one of the best commissioners to ever hold the office, has implemented a progressive modernization program over the past three years, ably supported by a vigorous law and justice sector and more recently by a dedicated cadre of AFP Officers, which has had a marked effect upon the performance, capability and morale of the Constabulary.

Sir Toami’s appeal against his conviction for contempt of court over an internal administrative matter is pending and thus ‘sub judicae’, so I will confine myself to testifying that his personal and professional reputation is ‘as Caesar’s wife’, irreproachable.

His successor as Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki MBE QPM DPS , with 44 years service to the Constabulary, the former ‘namba tu cop’, Deputy Commissioner (Operations), has been known forever as ‘A-1’, an Officer respected for his no-nonsense approach to discipline and performance, whose distinguished career as a detective, is only surpassed by his reputation for tactical operational genius.

CoP Vaki earned his MBE for bravery, in the early 1980’s when he and his small force of Policeman saved the Parliament House from being torched by disgruntled PNGDF, by shooting to wound four of the would be arsonists when they refused to desist.

A very well known quantity, CoP Vaki has the absolute confidence of the vast majority of the rank and file.

An extensive accommodation and facility building program, combined with a healthy pay rise, and a comprehensive review of Constabulary Standing Orders, has breathed fresh life into an organization that has suffered nearly 40 years of neglect by successive governments.

By the end of this year 800 new recruits will have entered the service, all with Grade 12 minimum and a considerable number with tertiary qualifications, since January.

This will constitute the only increase in Constabulary numbers since Independence in a Country where the population has more than doubled. It is anticipated that another thousand ‘fresh young law enforcers’ will be added in 2015.

The Constabulary’s ‘deserved reputation for its genuine connection to the community’ was upheld during the receding Bougainville conflict, some of which I witnessed first hand, and during which Constable Joseph Tangiria was posthumously awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal, representative of the valour and sacrifice for which the Constabulary is justly known.

That reputation remains untarnished by the minority of members whose poor behaviour is assiduously remarked upon by critics, who are unaware of, or don’t care about, the professional and capable service, day in day out, of the vast majority of dedicated officers and members who continue to be the main force for nation building in Papua New Guinea, just as their forbears have been for the last 11 decades.

Papua New Guinea is not Utopia, and no law enforcement body is entirely free of ‘thugs and bullies’, but fair’s fair, things are not nearly as bad as may be popularly thought, based upon the prognostications of ‘Letters to the Editor’ and PNG’s less than illustrious media.

If the government and leadership in the police hiearchy are serious,there should be a complete overhaul of the police force;

Urgent attention to the following: A need to urgently look at the police act and get the right policies in line with current needs for law and order
- Longer training duration with quality outputs
- career pathways clearly earmarked
- improved leadership development at the different levels and ranks
- Performance based
- Retrenching old and underperforming personnel
- Regular review and training and skills/capacity building
- Rigorous and transparent recruitment drive, outsourcing this to the private sector will also be important.
- Recruits cut of should be at Gr12 or university and college graduates.
- Greater improvements in Specialist
- Review and improve remunerations and other benefits like housing.
- etc etc

Just need leadership and vision.

I'm afraid O'Neill's actions have just made the RPNGC look a whole lot worse.

I heard that at one stage the Mobile Squad was challenging the Fraud Squad.

At the moment the Police Commissioner appears to be standing up for a Prime Minister who has allowed policemen to live in sub-standard dwellings. Amazing!

All these police officers, politicians, bureaucrats, and so called leader-mahn should know that they is no such world of a half-way crook. Sooner or later they will face the consequences.

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