PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s acting police commissioner Francis Tokura says he will provide the leadership required to address law and order issues in the country.
Mr Tokura has been appointed for a period of three months pending the announcement of a permanent choice by the National Executive Council.
David Manning has been appointed acting deputy commissioners operations and Joanne Clarkson acting deputy commissioner administration.
Mr Tokura said he is aware of stood down former commissioner Gary Baki's intention to challenge the appointment process, saying it is his right to do so.
"This is only an acting appointment during which time the process will be initiated for the substantive appointment for the commissioner and deputy positions,” Mr Tokura said.
"However, I intend to do my level best. I’m pretty sure my two acting deputies will be also thinking the same.”
Mr Tokura, who is head of the Bougainville police service, said he will maintain his input in Bougainville including preparations for the pending Bougainville referendum.
He said he will ensure the Royal PNG Constabulary is stable and able to continue its constitutional duty to protect lives and property and maintain law and order.
"I will ensure there is good governance, accountability, transparency and fairness at all levels and ensure we deliver due diligence in the discharge of our duties as individuals police officers and collectively as the constabulary,” he said.
"I will also ensure reforms and initiatives started by the former management will continue."
One of these initiatives is the Police Task Force introduced by his predecessor in the National Capital District.
Mr Tokura says he believes the task force is one way of returning people’s trust in the Constabulary.
"I will be sitting down with the two deputies and the assistant commissioners and see a way forward on this initiative.
"We will also see how we can introduce the task force in other centres of the country.
"The honest truth is that the police force has lost the trust and confidence of the people of Papua New Guinea.
“And the job being done by this particular unit is something we have to seriously look at and to improve on how we can progress this to bring the level of disciplinary issues to a manageable level."
Mr Tokura also vowed to apprehend the killers involved in the Hela Province massacre to ensure they face justice.
Police Minister Bryan Kramer said that normalcy should now be restored in the police force.
"The decision behind my submission to support the appointments of Francis Tokura, David Manning and Joanne Clarkson was to establish the most neutral, qualified people to hold an acting position.
“Each will be afforded an opportunity to apply for the substantive position.
"When I became minister all three positions had expired under the Police Act, not by decision of me as minister or by the NEC."