Law and Order in Contemporary Papua New Guinea: an Examination of Causes and Policy Options
After twenty-one years of independence, problems of law and order remain the single most important issue on the agenda of public debate in Papua New Guinea. The impression is one of rising crime and social disorder, on the one hand, and an ineffective crime prevention capability on the other. Against that background, this thesis offers an exploratory and illuminative account about the nature of crime and delinquency in Papua New Guinea. A general descriptive analysis of causal determinants of crime in Papua New Guinea is offered, with examination of the prevalence of law and order problems in different parts of the country, and the effectiveness of state responses as reported by youths and government officials in the city of Port Moresby, and also by young people and village leaders in the Central Highlands region of the country. The thesis is unique in that it is the first research of its kind to be carried out by a Melanesian scholar belonging to a tribal group whose explanations for crime and delinquency are also given formal acknowledgement. The thesis concludes that as crime and social disorder in Papua New Guinea is manifest with a Melanesian social and cultural setting, it must be examined as a melanesian social problem that requires Melanesian approaches in addressing it.