AUSTRALIAN Justice Minister Michael Keenan has witnessed first-hand how Australia is assisting Papua New Guinea’s modern police force to equip them with skills for fighting crime and improving community safety.

Mr Keenan was at Bomana Police College in Port Moresby on 20 February where six Australian Federal Police (AFP) advisors are working with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) to train new recruits and deliver professional skills to the PNG police.

Australia has recently deployed 50 AFP officers to Port Moresby and Lae to support PNG’s work to increase the number and quality of new recruits for the RPNGC.

Mr Keenan got a chance to meet and congratulate some of the 223 new probationary constables who recently graduated.

“The training they have received and their ongoing professional development in years to come will be vital for the modernisation of the RPNGC,” he said.

“Australia welcomes PNG’s allocation of funding to lift professional development opportunities and increase recruitment through to 2017 and we are committed to helping PNG realise this goal.”

As well as supporting management and trainers to develop and deliver a modern police curriculum, the AFP has helped PNG to deliver a six-month senior leadership development program through PNG-Australia Policing Partnership and the Australian Institute of Police Management.

Australia has also assisted PNG to improve the efficiency and rigour of the recruitment process, and processing times have been reduced from six months to six weeks.

Australia is currently working with the RPNGC to develop a competency-based curriculum that will strengthen PNG’s capacity to address family and sexual violence.

“Improving the police and criminal justice response to these issues is an important step towards reducing the cost to families, communities and the nation of PNG of these offences,” Mr Keenan said.

Mr Keenan’s three-day PNG visit reaffirmed Australia’s support for PNG’s law and justice priorities including transnational crime and policing. For more on Mr Keenan’s visit see page 114.