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The Queensland - PNG police exchange


“Queensland plans to send police officers to serve in Papua New Guinea and host officers from the neighbouring country. Premier Campbell Newman, who is in PNG, says up to 150 police officers will be exchanged to improve policing operations and protocols in PNG.” (AAP, 15 May)

GOOD NEWS? BUT WAIT! While this is great in theory, the devil will certainly lurk in the details.

Let me, through the Socratic method, expose some of those skulking details.

1. What arrangements have been made for familiarisation training for those going and those coming?

2. What accommodation will be offered to the PNG police and where?

3. What will their salaries be in Australian dollars and who will pay them?

4. Will there be equal numbers traveling from both countries?

5. How long will each transfer be and will that allow enough time for each officer to be effective?

6. Will the exchanges be reciprocal or just between each service?

7. Will those police working in PNG be supported by the 'system' and allowed to do their work unhindered?

8. Will Queensland police be working outside the cities and actually doing field work? If not, what chance is there for any real impact at the kunai roots?

9. What guarantees will there be that after the QPS staff leave PNG and the PNG police return to their own service there will be any change to the current situation?

10. The RPNGC may be at the point of internal collapse with around half of its numbers either at or near retirement. The majority of members are stationed at hot spots throughout the Highlands and those across the country have very little in the way of resources or logistical support.

11. Have the senior ranks of the RPNGC agreed to this arrangement and will back proposals submitted by the QPS?

12. Has the PNG government accepted it will back and follow through all submissions made under PNG legislation in a timely and non restrictive manner?

13. Has the likelihood of another Constitutional challenge been ruled out?

14. Will the QPS staff merely be in an advisory role without any power or capacity to ensure actual changes occur? If so, then this is simply another window dressing exercise.

There have been previous instances where the Australian Federal Police were offered separate facilities and accommodation, food and conditions while they worked alongside the RPNGC. This sort of dual operating arrangement made for anything other than great inter-service relations.

I know of a few old hands who would be only too happy to offer some assistance, but I suppose you can bet any offers of that nature will be spurned by those who are organising this operation.


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Ben Akuani

We have our police force here and,why would that be??
I bet,noting of such going to happened if our policing is good.
I'm not undermining our police force but its time now,at least we come up with alternatives of such to try solve some of our problems in policing.

Mary Koisen

Absolutely agree.

It is not going to work.

Michael Dom

Thanks Paul for your Socratic list.

What do I think about it?

Well, let me make thoughts very clear - this police exchange idea is not going to work.

David Kitchnoge

Thanks Paul - indeed the devil is in the detail.

And spot on Mary. Couldn't have said it better myself. I endorse everything you said.

Paul Oates

Thank you Mary and Colin for your comments.

If this is an initiative of the Queensland government alone then they should have thought it through before announcing the decision.

If this is part of PM Gillard's proposal then likewise, with the previous experience of the previous ECP program, more planning and preparation should have been done before a decision was announced.

These news releases show a distinct lack of knowledge about the real issues and what to do about fixing the problems.

The central issues are now:

- Will this provide real value for money?
- Could the money have been allocated in a better and more effective way or perhaps to another urgent area of concern e.g. Public Health and making making more doctors available?,
- Do the RPNGC accept and agree to this arrangement? and
- Will it make any long term difference to PNG's law and order problems?

The answers to all these queries are questionable at best.

It's almost like this is a short term, knee jerk reaction (dare I say 'quick political fix') to a serious problem that has been allowed to develop over many decades.

Mary Koisen

What we need is a brand new Police HQ and all other sub branches upgraded. Better and improved staff accomodation and welfare benefits for the PNG Police Force.

Proper training facilities to be built and capital resources in the form of vehicles to be provided.

Workshops/ Training in teamwork and other valuable reminders on why they had chosen to be police men and women should be conducted monthly so they dont lose sight of why they are here and focus on what their role is in society.

And then this "exchange" program can be carried out. Only then will it have any real meaning and substance.

There is no point doing this "exchange" when at the end of it all PNG Police officers will return to a delibetating work environment, conditions that cannot facilitate the training they've gone through and an organisation that fails to take care of the welfare of these officers and their families.

It will be frustrating for the PNG officers that will return.

It is a waste of Australian tax payers money and a waste of our time.

Colin Huggins

Paul - I think "Can-Do" Campbell should have stuck with the Engineering Corps in the Military. Just think we would have tunnels everywhere!

He sure has been a failure in the political area, then again, name one that hasn't?

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