Minister Tsiamalili focuses on strengthening policing in country

Sunday 21 January 2024

Minister for Police, Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jnr.

Minister for Police, Hon. Peter Tsiamalili, Jr, has highlighted areas of  focus, especially  on  internal security, civil unrest, domestic terrorism, international organised crime and Police Reform, in his specific role as Minister responsible.

In taking up the new role specifically focused on strengthening policing in the nation, the Minister said the past eighteen months have highlighted the need for ongoing co-ordination between relevant domestic security ministries and agencies.

“I appreciate the confidence of the Prime Minister in maintaining stability and the continuity of reforms toward rebuilding a strong, independent and professional Police Force, with my appointment as Minister,” Mr Tsiamalili said.

“Papua New Guinea faces a number of serious internal security challenges in the years ahead.

“Police are on the front line in confronting those who will break the law from street level criminals to domestic terrorists and international crime groups.”

In enhancing internal security, Mr. Tsiamalili said having the Ministry for  Internal security in place since the formation of government enabled a greater focus on domestic security co-ordination.

He was appointed  Minister for Internal Security, responsible for Police and Correction Service,  in August 2022, and when  the 11th Parliament resumed. He served in the post  until Thursday 18 January 2024, when he retained the police ministry

“What is abundantly clear from the Ministry for Internal Security is the need for integration and synchronisation between key ministries and departments.

“Under the Ministry of Internal Security we brought key areas closer together including police, counter-narcotics, Correctional Services, the National Identification project and the private security industry.

“These are core areas where co-ordination is required for strengthening internal security, and now that we have built these linkages and now CS and NID can be placed under separate ministries so I can focus on police, counter narcotics and the private security industry collectively.

“Our work of the past year and a half has established a strong basis for ongoing co-ordination and collective action as these areas come under different ministers.”

The Police Minister said the theft and destruction of Black Wednesday on January 10 has taught security agencies a number of lessons.

“From Black Wednesday we know we must have better intelligence gathering on criminals who instigate unrest, and the need to bolster our quick reaction capacity to calm civil unrest.

“In relation to the latter, we are expanding our resources so that we can intervene with greater force against those who will be part of mobs and thieves.

“Black Wednesday was the most extensive disorder we have ever seen, and we will be better prepared for any future unrest particularly in Port Moresby where the risk is higher.

“This includes making sure that the NCD/Central Command is prepared with immediate standby assets including armoured water canon trucks, sufficient tear gas and the introduction of rubber bullets or bean bag rounds.”

Minister Tsiamalili said “At   another end of the criminal spectrum, confronting domestic terrorism and international criminal organisations remain priorities.

“The country is sick and tired of the thugs who terrorise our people in villages and towns, who rape and murder and commit other crimes often related to ethnic conflicts.

“Police are establishing the Kumul 23 Force that brings together some of our elite personnel from Police and Defence who have special operations training and experience.

 “They will confront, and where required in tactical situations, kill the rapists and murderers identified as domestic terrorists.

Minister Tsiamalili believes, some  of these domestic terrorists have links to international criminal networks from where they get their illegal weapons and ammunition.

“These international criminal groups, particularly from Asia, have been penetrating our country for the past two decades and causing a lot of damage to us and our neighbours.

“They are smuggling illegal drugs through to Australia, and are also distributing these drugs to our young people in PNG who are becoming drug addicts and committing crimes  to support their habits.

“Only this week another member of an Asian crime gang was arrested in Australia in relation to smuggling drugs from PNG to Australia.

“This was a co-ordinate operation between the PNG Police and the Australian Federal Police.”

The Police Minister  further added said he has every confidence in the leadership of Commissioner David Manning in the reform agenda he is leading at the RPNGC.

“The Commissioner has been understandably harsh on police who do not make the grade, and has sacked more incompetent and corrupt police than any of his predecessors. He is also building the force with the brightest of our new generation.

“I encourage the RPNGC executive to keep cracking the whip and get rid of the dead wood.  We have many more recruits coming through the system, and the useless or bad police he terminates are nothing short of a burden on the force so we are better off without them.

“The Commissioner is on administrative suspension as the investigation into Black Wednesday takes place, and this is important for demonstrating transparency in the force.”