IT is tragic that the Royal Papua New guinea Constabulary, which once had a deserved reputation for its genuine connection to the community it served, has now degenerated to the point where some of its officers are little more than armed thugs.
Any organisation that is failing so spectacularly to fulfil its main mission is certain to be bereft of effective leadership.
In particular, there evidently is no-one willing or able to clearly articulate what the RPNGC's core values are and then enforce those values.
This is always a tough job in policing, which is a dangerous, demanding and sometimes distressing line of work. However, it is critical to success of a police force that it gains and retains the overwhelming support of the community it serves.
To do this, it is important that justice is both done and seen to be done. That is manifestly not happening in PNG right now.
There is no "magic bullet" solution to this. Change will have to start at the top and will not necessarily be pretty.
The first step is to strip politicians of the ability to remove and appoint Commissioners at will. At a minimum, this should take a resolution of Parliament. At least this should ensure that the process is transparent, unlike the recent change in leadership.
The second step is to appoint an incorruptible Commissioner and empower him or her to do all things that need to be done to change the culture of the force for the better, including sacking those officers who cannot or will not conform to the required standards of behaviour and probity.
This is a difficult but not impossible task. It has been done before but requires a great deal of political will in the first instance.
So, Mr O'Neill, have you got the "right stuff" in you to do what is right for the country?