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This project builds on the existing efforts of the Government of Papua New Guinea (GOPNG, PNG) to measure progress in safety and justice. This project's purpose is to strengthen the capacity of GOPNG and its partners in civil society to measure progress in safety and justice by using data based indicators to guide management and policy decisions and deepen the learning about the operation of the justice system as a whole. The project is coordinated through PNG’s Law and Justice Sector Secretariat (LJSS) and Department of National Planning and Management (DNPM). A team from the Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management supports the LJSS and DNPM in program design and data collection, cleaning, and analysis. The PNG justice and safety indicators project is funding by AusAID, the Australian Government Aid Program.
Partnership with PNG began in December 2009. Representatives of agencies across the sector identified several topics on which new management indicators might strengthen the sector’s ability to achieve more safety and justice. We are now working with officials across the sector to design indicators assessing the private security industry, its role in policing activities and its relationship to the Royal Constabulary of Papua New Guinea; analyzing the number of village court cases that result in orders of imprisonment and warrants of commitment; and and tracking the use and presence of firearms in crime, perhaps by using police data and public crime surveys.
Private security plays an important role in responding to crime throughout Papua New Guinea. With the development of a liquefied natural gas pipeline spanning the country, the number of private security personnel and their policing activities are increasing. Furthermore, Papua New Guinea’s Village Court system presents an interesting model of local, community based, custom focused courts, formally linked to the rest of the justice system, including police and correctional services. Building an indicator on the use of imprisonment orders by Village Courts—modern courts with ancient roots, whose practices are based on the use of customary law and mediation—helps the government of Papua New Guinea track and refine the intersection between the local, traditional courts that deal with 80-90% of crime in PNG, and the higher, more formal courts, the police, and the prison system.