PUTTING an end to police brutality and reviewing policing arrangements with Australia are high on the agenda for Gari Baki, recently reappointed Police Commissioner by the O’Neill government.
Mr Baki was appointed to the role in early May after former commissioner Geoffrey Vaki’s appointment was revoked by the National Executive Council.
According to reports, the removal followed a number of police investigations which were not resolved to the liking of government.
Among these were delays into investigations into the Hanuabada killings, when two men were allegedly shot by police officers earlier this year.
Mr O’Neill also reportedly said that communication was lacking between the Commissioner and the Police Minister.
In a statement provided to the Australian Associated Press (AAP), Mr Baki said he would not tolerate his officers being involved in violent attacks.
“I will maintain a strict zero tolerance level on police brutality and extrajudicial killings by police, whether accidental or otherwise,” he said.
“Shape up, change your attitudes, improve your work ethic, be disciplined, improve your performance and work output, or get ready to be booted out.”
Mr Baki said the burden of proof would now fall on officers accused of poor behaviour or failing to take necessary and appropriate action in police matters.
“Policemen and women will be charged forthwith, and they will have to provide statements, witnesses and evidence clearing them of any misconduct, abuse or corruption,” he said.
He also pledged to beef up the internal affairs division.
Mr Baki also told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he planned to review an arrangement with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) that sees 73 Australian officers deployed in the nation.
The AFP officers do not report to his office, which Mr Baki said led to concerns that the partnership was not in line with PNG police modernisation objectives.
“The question to be asked is – is the partnership in its current form ideal to our current situation, or does it need improvement?” he said.
“That is the sole reason why I will be revisiting it.”
A restructure calls for new command centres to be set up to cover many of PNG’s 21 provinces, and the commissioner will seek government support to build three “mega-police stations” for the capital, Port Moresby, with bigger holding cells and better resources.
The PNG government wants 10,000 police officers by 2018, which is when it hopes to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders’ summit.
Mr Baki said this goal was is not achievable under current conditions, but decentralising recruitment and setting up regional training schools in the Highlands, New Guinea Islands and the northern Momase region could help resolve it, AAP reported.