Faced with a rise in the number of criminals in Papua New Guinea who are now armed and shooting at the police, Police Commissioner David Manning says “all gloves are off”.
“We will not be practising any leniency and we will neutralise the criminals through any means — meaning they will be shot and killed,” he said.
- READ MORE: PNG woman journalist hit by stray bullet during Moitaka shootout
- PNG police report capture of alleged kidnapper of 17 girls in Mt Bosavi area
- ‘We chose death over being raped’ – PNG kidnap survivor speaks out
- Other PNG crime reports
Last month in Northern province, a policeman was shot and killed by armed 16-year-olds who had access to firearms and were committing crimes in the province.
This week settlers who were allegedly evicted opened fire at police officers with a stray bullet wounding a female reporter.
The escalating law and order problems even got Prime Minister James Marape and former prime minister Peter O’Neill “yelling” and blaming each other over daily killings nationwide.
O’Neill challenged Marape to explain what the government’s plans were on tackling the escalating law and order situation nationwide.
However, Manning said: “The RPNGC [Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary] is moving from what had been an overarching emphasis on crime prevention over recent decades to focus on responding to criminal activity and countering aggression head-on.
“Standing orders for police officers to neutralise violent offenders through the escalated and reasonable use of force are being reinforced across units.”
The RPNGC, with the support of the Marape government, is repositioning police personnel and assets to take a harder stand against violent offenders and domestic terrorists.”
“The ‘soft glove’ approach as the frontline policy has not worked, and now the gloves are off and the frontline is the confrontation and neutralisation of criminal activity at its roots,” Manning said.
Police officers were trained in the escalated use of force when confronting criminal activities — up to and including the use of lethal force — and they had sworn an oath to fulfil this duty, he added.
Commissioner Manning said that an important component of this direction included further empowering provincial police commands to engage with provincial administrations to respond to local crime problems.
“Legislation is being developed that clearly articulates actions of domestic terrorism, and the changes in our police force counter-terrorism approach will be reflected in this policy development.
According to information received, the estimated number of firearms possessed by civilians stands at “tens of thousands”.
With the high number of the proliferation of firearms since 2022, the number of firearms has increased to an unknown figure.
Republished from the PNG Post-Courier with permission.