Restructuring, realignment or Re-positioning? A Practical Exercise in Intelligence Collation and Assessment

by PAUL AMATIO

The recent reshuffle of the senior police hierarchy and command should not really surprise many. It was mooted earlier by Mr. Baki and has finally been effected. That includes the restructuring of the command structure.

I guess that given the expansion in the population of the nation, such a restructuring is timely and beneficial to the constabulary. There only remains the task of finding enough men to fully outfit the various commands – not to mention the infrastructure and logistics required to maintain them and sustain them. But that is a political problem. Will the government give enough funding to ensure that this initiative by the Commissioner indeed fulfils its intention? With the 2017 General Elections around the corner, this structure also makes it much easier in terms of coordination, command and control.

The movement of senior officers is also a good move, one would think. Many of those who have been in PHQ need to be moved out so they can effectively implement what they have picked up from the nexus of power in the out stations. Similarly those who have been out of PHQ and moved back in can now be able to try and correct some of the deficiencies that they have seen. It is to be hoped that they will not leave the officers who once called them ‘boss’ to fester and continue to suffer in silence while
they enjoy the new perks of being near head office.

Nevertheless there are a few of those appointments that have caused some eyebrows to be raised. This includes the positioning of some officers into positions that seem to be perhaps above and beyond their capabilities while some very senior officers with years of experience under their belts have been overlooked or ignored – either deliberately or intentionally. One would have thought that there are several senior officers now occupying positions outside of NCD or who have been “unattached” whose experiences in senior command and administrative positions would have geared and propped them well for roles in PHQ but that has not happened. There could be good reason for this or perhaps not? After all, it is widely accepted that while it is ultimately the Commissioner’s sign off which will give effect to those transfers, there is almost always a good number of input from the inner circle on who goes where or gets what. That is normal. But one sometimes wonders whose interests those advisors serve.

Looking in from the outside, I for one am wondering how any of these position really do serve the interests of the RPNGC vis-a-vis the moderisation strategy. Especially given that many of the young and upcoming officers who one would think would be key drivers of this policy have been pushed in operational and non-policy roles. Two cases in point being Wagambie Jr and the only senior female police officer in the force being relegated to Bougainville when I believe she was one of the brains behind the modernisation program. Another point for pondering is the wisdom of the installation of an unattached CIP as Met Supt/NCD when there are many more capable and proven SUPTs and CSPs around. I am sure the CoP has made his reasons known to the officers affected. I wonder how many of the either accepted or indeed believed them. Nevertheless being the good officers they are, I am sure they will obey their orders and do as they are told - after all it is not an unlawful order.

I don’t claim to have any special inside knowledge of the intricacies involved however certain sources from outside the RPNGC have stated that there could be a certain “regional” bias in the postings as officers from a certain region or province have been moved into key and strategic positions which ultimately control the core of the operability of the RPNGC. Perhaps someone needs to take a second look at these postings and transfers and do an analysis based on ethnicity, loyalties, political connexions and such. This is an intelligence task but I am sure there are good and capable people out there with the knowledge, information, capability and nous to join the dots. The last impasse taught everyone a lot of what the key requirements of maintaining power were.

You might have a real ignoramus in the position but as they say in the real estate industry: “Location is everything”.