PNG needs training for elite rapid response team for APEC 2018 – Baki
ROYAL PAPUA NEW GUINEA CONSTABULARYMEDIA RELEASE
Monday May 15, 2017
Commissioner of Police Gari Baki said today that the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary is currently engaged in discussions with an American based security company, Laurence Aviation & Security Group, to train an elite rapid response team for APEC 2018 and for ongoing policing into the future.
Commissioner Baki made this comment following speculations made in an internet blog site over the engagement of the Americans. He confirmed that the Americans referred to in the blog site were from the Laurence Aviation & Security Group.
Laurence Aviation & Security Group is an American based company that offers high-end security solutions to its customers globally including the United States Government. It is staffed by former American military and police personnel.
“I was approached by the president of the company, Mr Peter Halliman around July last year. He was offering his company’s services to the RPNGC. Mr Halliman is an American citizen but he was born in Bulolo in 1961 and grew up in the Lake Kopiago/Koroba area of the Hela Province. His parents were Baptist missionaries.
“As the Commissioner of Police and Commander of the APEC 2018 Joint Task Force I have been concerned at our response capability should we be faced with serious security threats such as a hostage situation for instance.
“I invited Laurence Aviation & Security Group to come to PNG in February this year to do a presentation for the senior police hierarchy on what they can offer to the RPNGC in terms of training.
“Other government departments were invited to attend the presentation including the PNG Defence Force, the Correctional Services and PNG Customs. As a matter of formality I wrote to the United States Embassy informing the embassy of the RPNGC’s intentions.
“Following the presentation I decided that the company had the necessary credentials, skills, experience and expertise to train an elite rapid response team for PNG which I intend to set up especially for APEC 2018,” Commissioner Baki said.
He said the team will consist of 120-men who will be recruited from the units within the RPNGC and sister agencies including:
· 30 from the RPNGC’s Air Tactical Unit;
· 30 selected from the Mobile Squads throughout PNG;
· 30 members of the NCD Task Force; and
· 30 composite team comprising of five from the Police College, five from PNG Customs, ten from the PNG Correctional Service and 10 from the PNG Defence Force.
Laurence Aviation & Security Group has proposed a five months (140 days) training for the elite rapid response team. A team of 15 instructors from Laurence Aviation & Security Group are expected in be in country for the training program once the engagement is confirmed.
Mr Baki said the 15 LASG personnel have been appointed Special Constables and this will continue for the duration of the training period.
“Two of the members of LASG have been in the country since February and I authorized them to go on day and night patrols with teams from the NCD Command, especially the NCD Task Force to assess and appreciate their operational capabilities and shortfalls. If they are going to be training our men they need to know what our response capabilities are,” Commissioner Baki said.
He said that during the attachment the LASG team has made a number of observations which will now be addressed in the training package as well such as:
· A lack of supervision and command and control at the station and street level;
· A lack of proper police equipment including uniforms;
· A prevalence or high instances of police human rights abuse; and
· A general lack of knowledge of and or adherence to set police practices, processes and procedures.
Mr Baki said the LASG personnel have been stood down following the short attachment with the NCD Police. He said that the company’s future engagement will be only on a training basis and not active operational duties. However, the training will involve both classroom as well as practical hands on training at the police station/street levels.
“I have purposely included five instructors from the Police College in the initial training as I want them to take back what will be learnt during this training program back to the college.
“I believe LASG can and will help the RPNGC to improve its policing services during and beyond APEC 2018. We need this intervention and we need it now,” Commissioner Baki concluded.