Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary personnel have been issued with a Commissioner’s Circular on the approved use of force in the execution of their duties, to protect lives from domestic terrorist and other criminal activities.
With the escalation of violence in the Highlands and other areas, Commissioner Manning said personnel must be clear on the extent of their powers, and to warn criminals of likely outcomes if they resort to using weapons.
“Today (August 15), I issued a Commissioner’s Circular on the use of force against criminals to reinforce the lawful authority of police personnel,” Commissioner Manning said.
“This is not a circular I issue lightly, but it is necessary, and done so with the full support of the Government in order to quell violence, particularly in the Highlands region.
“I have directed RPNGC personnel to be prepared to deploy lethal force where this is required and reasonable. Commanders are instructed to incorporate this directive into respective operational orders.
“As part of this, RPNGC Members are reminded when using force and lethal force to act in good faith and sound judgement, in accordance with our laws, at all times.”
Commissioner Manning said reports of criminals armed with firearms and other weapons terrorising people, particularly in Enga Province, will not be tolerated.
“Police and PNG Defence Force personnel are responding to criminal elements that commit violent acts on law-abiding and vulnerable communities.
“The Commissioner’s Circular issued today (August 15, 2023) provides clear direction as to when and how lethal force is applied.
“In simple terms, if a person is brandishing a gun, an explosive device, or other weapons such a bush knife or catapult, force will be escalated to protect the public and police.
“Domestic terrorists and other criminals have now been given more than fair warning, and they can expect no tolerance by security forces responding to criminal activities.
“Only last week, two gang leaders in East New Britain felt the full force of the law when they confronted police with firearms. Those two gang leaders are now dead and their associates in custody.
“The use of lethal force against armed criminals is a necessary option,” Mr Manning said.