Australia unveils plans for network of Pacific police academies
Australia has unveiled plans to develop a network of police training centres in the Pacific, stepping up efforts to boost law and order in Papua New Guinea and across the region.
Australian Federal Police told AFP Wednesday they were currently in talks with Pacific authorities to establish “training centres of excellence across the region”.
Regional police officers are sometimes poorly trained and struggle to fight crime on low budgets.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has already announced a scheme to bring senior police executives to Australia, but now looks set to strengthen the focus on lower ranked officers.
The drive is part of a broader effort to strengthen the rule of law across the region and bolster Australian influence, as China woos Pacific nations with attractive loans and eye-catching infrastructure projects.
In countries such as Papua New Guinea the challenges are immense. Police Commissioner Gari Baki this week publicly admitted ill-discipline, brutality and corruption were rampant inside the force.
“As police commissioner I was very concerned about bad police behaviour. I was in fact embarrassed with the number of cases being reported in the media,” Baki said in a statement.
Members of Papua New Guinea’s constabulary are currently in prison for crimes ranging from indecent assault to grievous bodily harm to aiding prisoner’s escape.
Late last year officers from the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary stormed parliament demanding pay.
Authorities in Port Moresby are now asking for help, with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill this week telling parliament that he would “hand over” a police training college for “the Australians to run it for us”.
Australian police confirmed they would be embedding advisors at the Bomana Police Training College outside the capital, adding that a police partnership with Papua New Guinea has now been extended to June 2022.
Sources : AFP
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