Papua New Guinea’s police force has scrapped plans to pay officers bonuses for each new arrest, with the nation’s top law enforcement official on Tuesday calling the scheme “counter-productive”.
Police Commissioner Gari Baki said the proposal to pay officers in crime-ridden Port Moresby allowances of up to US$150 per arrest was “well meaning” but would not go ahead.
“This is totally wrong and counter-productive so I will not allow it to be implemented,” Baki said in a statement.
“Policemen are among the highest paid public servants in the country,” he added. “They are a privileged lot.”
In November, hundreds of police officers stormed parliament — smashing windows, trashing furniture and demanding unpaid allowances for policing the Asia-Pacific summit of world leaders.
The cash-for-arrests plan had earlier been announced by the commander of the National Capital District Perou N’Dranou, as he tried to quell unease in the ranks and rampant criminality.
Violent gangs, widespread theft and rape have made Port Moresby one of the most dangerous cities in the world, with few residents willing to venture out after dark unless necessary.
But the bonus proposal had led analysts to express concerns about human rights abuses and unnecessary arrests.
The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary is frequently accused of abuse, misconduct and complicity with criminal gangs.
“Police officers in the (National Capital District) already receive a financial incentive to do their jobs — it’s called a salary,” said Pacific region expert and researcher Tess Newton Cain.