Tuesday 18 October 2022
A three-day Joint Security Forces debriefing on the 2022 National General Elections Security Operation is currently underway in Lae, Morobe Province, to chart a way forward for better and improved security operations in future.
Commissioner of Police David Manning and senior leadership of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, PNG Defence Force, Correctional Services, the PNG Australia Policing Partnership and key stakeholders are attending the three-day conference which began on Monday 17 October and will end on Thursday 20 October.
Minister for Internal Security and Bougainville Regional Member Peter Tsiamalili Jnr and Secretary for the Department of Prime Minister and NEC, Mr Ivan Pomaleu are also in attendance.
Commissioner Manning said in his opening remarks that debriefs, after any major operation, are a critical part of the security forces’ performance accountability process.
“It allows for an opportunity to critically assess our respective force’s capabilities and capacities to support or contribute to any major operation. In this case is the recently concluded 2022 national general election.
“In my address to the men and women on parades leading up to the election security activities, I pointed out a fact that our biggest impediment to this was the limitations of our forces, both organisational and individual. The 2022 national general election has definitely exposed this fact.
“For the RPNGC, it is very much indicative of our day-to-day performance, how we go about providing the required and expected level of leadership, command, performance accountability, adherence to processes, demonstrate strategic thinking and basically applying ourselves to the jobs we get paid to do, more importantly the positions you were appointed to.
“In as far as the direction we are heading we will need to ensure we remain effective in what we do on a daily basis, to give us every chance to succeed in the 2027 national general election.”
Mr Manning added, “Whilst we are here to acknowledge our contributions to the 2022 national general election, we equally must acknowledge our shortcomings.”
Mr Manning has further initiated certain reforms that focused on bettering his personnel to meet the expectations of stakeholders.
“This includes improving performance accountability, strengthening processes, ensuring an organisational mind set shift to ensure compliance and more effective service delivery at both the national and sub national levels.
“As many of you are no doubt aware, our performance has been a point of discussion on the floor of Parliament recently. As your leader I ultimately will and have accepted the responsibility of these sentiments of dissatisfaction. I accept it of course with grave concern.
“Simply put, what was argued on the floor of parliament is a “Call to Action’” of the Police Force by our national leaders – the RPNGC will respond to this call.
“I will not delve into the critical gaps we are currently experiencing with due respect to our colleagues and counterparts from our sister forces, this will be subject to a separate forum.
“We have commenced this process in Headquarters, and we remain committed to ensuring we secure the necessary support from our government, and of course our development and bilateral partners. We are not short of support,” Mr Manning said.
Consistent with the theme of the de-brief conference, Mr Manning placed on record that if it was not for the security forces efforts, NATEL 22 would not have been concluded as it had been.
However, Mr Manning is convinced that if the necessary steps are not taken now to address operational gaps and resolve them at least two years before the 2027 National General Election, the security forces will not be in a position to ensure the delivery of the electoral process.
The Commissioner urged all partners to develop a single planning document that is not only understood by all but is able to be implemented across a multi-agency environment through multi-agency concurrent activities to deliver a shared desired and agreed outcome.
He said this document sets out clear planning and operational and administrative guidelines that allow for effective use of assets and resources all the while enhancing effective collaboration.
Mr Manning said the security forces will continue to be faced with limited resources, but this does not however diminish their responsibility to ensure their best efforts to support the electoral process.
“We must continue to be innovative, establish and maintain relationships, and above all provide the strong leadership that is generally lacking in the public service,” Mr Manning said.
IMr Manning called for all participants to be engaged fully in the discussions over the next few days.
He said there are many success stories to share both in the Administration and Operational space leading up to, during and post NATEL 22.
“Embrace them, acknowledge them and learn from them,” Mr Manning added.