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17 January 2019


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Ok. Let's call a spade a spade. The real issue is not one of recruitment and retention of the right sort of people but one of leadership.

If the PNG police of old were led by those who now are leading PNG, the same results would have applied then as they do now.

Responsibility starts at the top and filters down. Senior middle managers must be led by those who practice what they preach and are seen to be held accountable for what they do.

For the sake of discussion, let's suppose that the RPNGC mobile squads have by default, taken on the role of a Gendarmerie. Are they then subject to the international rules of war?

Did PNG sign off the UN policy on this aspect?

If so, are there any independent observers who are stationed in the Highlands and report on the conduct of protagonists during tribal warfare? If not, why not?

Has Transparency International made submissions to the UN on this matter?

Husat isave?

Very insightful article.

I do not understand. The AFP have applied hundreds of men and millions of dollars. The thing should be humming along by now.

I understand that the new deployment has entirely new guidelines and "outcomes" and "outputs."

So off we go - into the sunny uplands.....

To take a second 'bite at the cherry', look for example at the PNG government's limited use of the PNGDF to augment the RPNGC in the Highlands.

The answer is already there for all who really understand the situation.

Police should not be expected to handle wartime situations involving large scale conflict.

The rule of law has to be augmented by the Rules of War.

I wonder what might happen if the PNG government, not Australia, called for practical suggestions and recruitment contracts.

Clearly the AFP would lose their local sinecures and perhaps professional consultancies would be largely dispensed with by Australian Foreign Affairs.

Nothing has changed since Roman times however, the question still being: 'Who will watch the watchers'?

Professor Derham was an early version of the long line of consultants that Canberra engaged to advise it on what to do in PNG. The practise, as we know, is still operating at an increased rate.

Derham spent 37 days in PNG.

This is what JK McCarthy, the Director of the Department of Native Affairs said in 1963:

"The Derham Report, written by a man who had no practical experience of the country, and who undoubtedly was inspired by an equally ignorant person [Hasluck], was accepted without question ... As a result of it, the multiple powers once necessarily held by a D.O. are now, or will be, split between several officers - and this 'compartmenting' is fatal to good government ... The administration of justice is degraded as a technical skill and guilty men escape punishment. This the native people cannot understand."

Thirty one kiaps resigned or transferred in disgust.

Derham didn't think the kiap system was transferable when self-government arrived.

His report was kept secret for a long time by the Australian government and as far as I can tell there was very little kiap input into his research.

It all sounds horribly familiar.

Spot on Chips. A number of other countries as well. Italy and Turkey come to mind. Italy's Carabineri would probably be the closest since they are part military and part police.

The issue was unfortunately about disconnection. No one in Canberra really understood what was required and therefore couldn't get their collectives heads around the situation.

Nothing changed of course after 40-50 years.

That's what today's PNG now urgently needs. What's the bet no one takes up that challenge for exactly the same reason as were around 50 years ago?

Former Commissioner of RPNGC Raymond Wells Whitrod AC CVO QPM in his book "Before I Sleep" (UQ Press 2001) stated that kiaps were better police officers than the regular Constabulary officers because the kiaps spoke the language of the people (Pidgin and Motu) whereas some regular officers had to use interpreters even to speak to their own subordinates.

Whitrod said kiaps were better trained to understand the culture in which they were working and were better suited to policing 90% of the country's land mass.

He said the Federal Government made a mistake in trying to divorce the kiaps from the other ranks. He said what the Federal Government should have done was to create a separate police force to operate under the kiaps in the rural and remote parts of PNG.

Nothing strange about this he said. Similar divisions occur in France between the police and the Gendarmerie, and in the USA between police and sheriffs. What a pity it did not happen that way in PNG.

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