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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working closely with the Bougainville Police Service (BPS) to train officers in critical areas like international policing standards and first aid in view of the upcoming elections.
As part of the same, three policing workshops were recently organized and attended by 45 officers from Buka, Arawa and Buin police stations.
For the first time in PNG, the workshops were organized and conducted remotely, in adherence to the social distancing norms due to COVID-19.
Simultaneously, the ICRC – in collaboration with the Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society (PNGRCS) in Bougainville – conducted three first-aid training sessions for the officers.
Bougainville regional training officer Chief Sergeant Herman Birengka expressed his appreciation for ICRC’s timely support and said it would not have been possible for his team to deliver vital election-related training for the BPS throughout the autonomous region without the same.
“Social distancing was maintained throughout the sessions and I am grateful for this, especially as we are preparing for the elections,” Birengka said.
While the first-aid sessions were delivered by the PNGRCS team in Bougainville, the police workshops were partially conducted virtually by ICRC staff in Port Moresby.
Despite the technical challenges, the police officers shared their appreciation for the support. Constable Angela Kirara of Buin police station found the workshop very useful.
“It was a timely reminder about how I can judiciously and responsibly use the powers conferred on me by the state,” she said.
Head of ICRC mission in Port Moresby Dominik Urban said as the organization had expertise in international law and policing, they would continue to share knowledge in these fields in the long run too.
“It is important that the Bougainville Police are aware of the international policing standards and take away the most relevant parts from these training sessions, especially during the times of elections,” Urban said.
The ICRC has been working to protect and help people affected by violence and tribal fighting in Papua New Guinea since 2012.