Home > Corruption, Human rights, Papua New Guinea > PNG’s Juffa seeks new approach to policing

PNG’s Juffa seeks new approach to policing

Radio New Zealand

The outspoken Papua New Guinea MP Gary Juffa says to address the country’s chronic law and order problems requires a holistic approach.

The Governor of Oro Province, Mr Juffa says among the priorities for PNG should be to modernise the police force, replenish the prosecutorial offices and bolster the judiciary.

He says that as well as a large number of violent crimes that need investigating, there is a lot of white-collar crime which PNG must deal with.

Gary Juffa spoke to Johnny Blades about his ideas for addressing the law and order crisis.

JUFFA: “The police has not been developed and modernised over a period of years, I would say, since independence. If you look at the population of PNG as it is now, it’s between 7 million and 8 million. The population of PNG at independence was about 2.8 million thereabouts. The police staff ceiling was 4,000, 5,000 officers. That staff ceiling has not improved till now. It’s still 5,000 officers. You’ve got an ageing force, you’ve got a huge population. You’ve got an increase in the types of crimes. There’s complex violent crimes, there’s complex fraud and so forth, and the police are just unable to cope because they just do not have the resources, nor do they have the manpower, the numbers. Morale is down. They need to modernise and modify themselves to cope with the problems they face in today’s world.”

BLADES: “Is the O’Neill government doing anything about this, do you think? Significant moves?”

JUFFA: “I’m satisfied that they are making a significant move in that direction. They’ve just carried out a modernisation program and they are now in the process of trying to recruit more policemen. You have a recruitment program annually so that these numbers can be improved. They are trying to look at the ageing force and retiring a number of the upper echelon of the police so they can bring in new officers. They’re also looking at creating an independent commission against corruption, a new body that will have federal powers to investigate serious corruption in the country.”

BLADES: “Will this just follow on from Sam Koim’s team?”

JUFFA: “I think the intention is to give some more resources and definition to that taskforce. Sam Koim’s taskforce, which has been doing a tremendous job under very harsh conditions or restrictions, they’ve achieved a lot and I would support that bill.”

BLADES: “Do you think that taskforce is going to be able to see through some prosecution? Obviously they’re not doing the prosecution. Do you think it’ll come about, because there are going to be some high-level embarrassments?”

JUFFA: “What has happened here is while we have created the taskforce, we need to revamp the prosecution aspect. And that office is a malnourished office insofar as resources are concerned. The prosecution office needs to be completely overhauled. You need to bring in vibrant, very effective prosecutors, well-trained, with experience – I would even go as far as suggesting from overseas. Give them the resources, then they will be able to take what the taskforce is doing to another level and achieve some outcomes. But then you’d have to look at the judiciary as well, which is quite depleted of staff. There are not enough magistrates, there are not enough judges. The case turnover is very slow. These things have to be all addressed holistically.”

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