Deputy Commissioner Simon Kauba says the Police management has condemned the incident as an unprofessional and inhumane act by members of the Constabulary. The confronting video brought strong condemnation from many people and groups in PNG, along with calls for an investigation. That has now happened, and those who called for it, such as Rueben Mete, National Youth Coordinator for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG, are pleased.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Cassaundra Rangip, co-founder and secretary of PNG anti-violence group Leniata Legacy
Rueben Mete, National Youth Coordinator for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG
METE: On behalf of the young people, the youth of Papua New Guinea, I would like to thank Simon Kauba to give his word to fully investigate, Mr Stephen has confidence now in the police force. We would appreciate to see the real outcome of the investigation, it should become public. We have previously known that there are certain investigations been done, but the results and the recommendations stay under the table. Thirdly I would like to congratulate Simon Kauba to coming up to media and coming out to public, admitting that yes he will look into the matter, and he’s taking this matter seriously. And we are glad about that.
HILL: What kind of a message do you think this sends to ordinary rank and file police?
METE: It sends the message that police brutality is not welcome in Papua New Guinea, it is against human rights and the rights of the individual people.
HILL: Also happy that an investigation into the incident is going to happen is Cassaundra Rangip, co-founder and secretary of Leniata Legacy, set up in memory of Kepari Leniata who was murdered by a mob in Mt Hagen last year.
RANGIP: The system is working, people actually care, and this whole I guess new social media phenomenon is actually a really great tool for us to persuade the justice system to work in our favour I guess. As an enforcement it seems to work, because I guess it exposes people publically and on Facebook, and then obviously a small country like PNG the identities were probably found quite quickly. There’s probably a relative or someone who’s related to that person, and it’s embarrassing to look at that and the humiliation as well as the police officers involved and the police department of the whole institution itself is embarrassed. The social media played a part in bringing, keeping them on their toes and that they can’t get away with everything anymore.
HILL: Many commentators on social media in PNG have been saying that they’re very pleased at the very quick response of the police and some have been suggesting that they were rather surprised, they thought they’d just get silenced, but the police have in fact come forward and it’s the police that are taking the lead in investigating this?
RANGIP: There’s a real change and I can’t put a finger on it as to where that’s come from. I do know that the police brutality is not something that’s new, but the social media phenomenon has definitely maybe changed the whole dynamic of bringing these things to justice.
HILL: Rueben Mete agrees that new information technology has played a key role in bringing this issue to light. He says police need better training, and the public should be encouraged to use social media to monitor police behaviour.
METE: One of the best things to take is to increase the police institutions, they should properly be trained, probably they are getting some 12 months of training, I think that’s not enough. They’re supposed to be two years training for police before they become fully engaged in the police force, because they should be properly trained, know how to approach the public. The other thing is to open a public hotline and also to create a Facebook or Twitter account that is information to monitor the works of the police in public. So there are complaints either through internet or through Twitter, mobile phone SMS and all that via Twitter, they should investigate those things, so this will really help.
HILL: Cassaundra Rangip says that while this investigation into a single incident is welcome, and sends a positive message, it won't cure the complex issue of police brutality in PNG by itself.
RANGIP: No, it’s shed light on the issue by bringing it on an international scale, and the fact that it’s been brought to Australia’s attention gives us the opportunity to re-examine ourselves, because as a whole we’re very de-sensitised to police brutality, and we as a nation we’ve accepted that it’s just part of the everyday life.