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New Zealand police bound for Bougainville

4 December 2003 Media Statement

New Zealand police bound for Bougainville

A small contingent of New Zealand police officers will be sent to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea in the New Year, to re-establish community-based policing in local hotspots.

NZAID, the government’s international aid and development agency, will provide funding for up to five New Zealand police officers and an administrator to travel to Bougainville. The officers will work on a six to 12 month rotation for two to four years, to reactivate a community policing project begun four years ago.

Aid Minister Marian Hobbs said NZAID and the New Zealand Police had a good track record in the law and justice sector in Bougainville.

"Our joint Bougainville Community Policing Project began in late 1999, and ran until October 2001," Marian Hobbs said. "The project identified local men and women suitable to serve as community police, and they were trained in standard policing, conflict resolution and maintenance of law and order

"These community police officers were very effective in restoring the rule of law in Bougainville. In some places they were the only law enforcement authority, and they played a major role in keeping the peace."

The project ceased two years ago, but a review in July of this year reinforced the need for the project to restart, and for New Zealand police to be on hand to train the new local recruits. The police contingent is expected to leave for Bougainville in January 2004.

"The community police concept is widely recognised as providing the best mechanism for sustainable and effective policing in Bougainville," Marian Hobbs said. "It contributes to the restoration of civil authority and we know that it reduces the incidence and fear of crime throughout the communities of Bougainville."

The project is part of a joint NZAID/ AusAID strategy for Papua New Guinea's law and justice sector, which also includes support for the Bougainville-based Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the village court system, community awareness, and the reintegration into the community of ex-combatants.

Marian Hobbs said funding for the project had not been finalised, but would come from NZAID’s $9.36 million aid programme to Papua New Guinea.


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