PNG’s Heather ends 17 years of UK shame
Better to be town mouse or village mouse?

Privatising police services is a bad idea


THE PNG POLICE - the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) - is made up of three different sectoral groups: the constabulary, task forces, and mobile squads (MS as they are known).

The constabulary implements the usual law and order activities while the task forces, formed in each town, comprise the best trained officers in the district.

The task forces respond to robberies and other major crimes as well as organised crime. They can be ruthless and brutal. They come under the command of the Provincial Police Commander.

Now to the MS: These police are very well trained to contain any situation: robbery, tribal fight, riot, public violence (especially seen at rugby matches), anything.

The MS carry out covert missions on suspected drug dealers, peddlers and smuggling routes. They conduct regular regional patrols, maintaining peace and normalcy. They have a countrywide jurisdiction.

Their trucks are marked only as MS08, MS14, MS16 and come from different areas, demonstrating their own 'little cultures' - like red-striped MS vehicles from Mendi, white striped from Lae, etc, so that when people see they fear.

They may say: “The MS from Mendi have come”. People know mobiles from Mendi are brutal and ruthless, so they fear.

The MS also conduct operations in collaboration with the PNGDF, like Sunset Merona in Vanimo.

They are the elite of PNG national security forces, yet now pose the greatest threat to PNG's security which the government and Security Minister have failed to foresee.

Memoranda of Understanding for the supply of MS services have been signed between Esso Highlands and RPNGC, Ok Tedi Mining Ltd and RPNGC, and Barrack Gold and RPNGC.

These must be revoked and declared null and void.

The 'hiring' by companies of the MS has created law and order problems for the rest of PNG, because the MS are based at strategic locations (like Moresby, Rabaul, Lae, Hagen, Piango, Mendi, just to name some) where they are to monitor the law and order situation.

Their so called 'hiring' by mining companies has created law and order loopholes, which criminals are taking advantage of.

So where does PNG stand when our elite forces are hired by corporations? Well I can tell you its gone to the dogs already. You can imagine what follows when people try to demand their rights, especially land owners in mining, logging, and project areas.

The people's cries are not heard. And when their own government turns against them – whether by not providing police services or using these services against ordinary people - it leads to many forms of oppression and suppression.

Papua New Guineans in the streets and villages are suffering as I sit here and write.

A version of this article was first published as a comment in PNG Attitude on Tuesday


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Justin Friend

I am surprised this is legal (is it?) though not surprised it happens. The same thing happened in Indonesia a few years back at Freeport and Indonesian authorities.

It was found to be illegal and the NY State Government Comptroller, as the company behind Freeport was registered in New York, found them guilty of several charges as they were committing illegal acts under Indonesian law in paying local forces.

It's a sad situation for PNG, one which wil be hard to reverse.

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