Police personnel under the Bougainville Referendum Regional Support Mission are set to arrive in Bougainville early next month.
This establishment of this mission follows a joint request from the governments of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea for New Zealand to lead an unarmed mission to support the Bougainville Police Service during the referendum period.
A total of twenty-eight police personnel will be part of this mission and will come from countries who witnessed the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement - New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
New Zealand Police Inspector and Team Leader of the Mission, Steven Kose, explained that the mission’s key mandate is to provide neutral and advisory support to the Bougainville Police Service.
“Mission personnel will conduct their work with the highest integrity and professionalism,” he said.
Upon their arrival in Bougainville, mission personnel will conduct familiarization and awareness visits to communities.
“The regional police officers involved in the mission will wear their respective national police uniforms. They will be easily identifiable through wearing a separate green colored arm band and a dark blue hat with the mission’s branding,” Kose said.
The Mission personnel will be attached to the command centers in all three regions under respective Bougainville Police Regional Commanders. The mission will depart after the counting period in mid-December.
Meanwhile, ABG Minister for Police, Correction Services and Justice, Hon. Willie Masiu says the Bougainville Police Service has an operations plan ready which covers the pre, proper and post referendum period.
Minister Masiu said there will be additional support from the RPNGC following a call out that was made to Bougainvillean police personnel working in other provinces in PNG to volunteer their engagement over the referendum period.
The Corrective Institution Services will also be providing 20 officers from the Bekut Correctional Institution.
Minister Masiu also made a public call to ensure that the referendum is conducted in a safe manner.
“We must play some role in ensuring that our referendum is safe and trouble free,” Masiu said.
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