Police are not in the business of killing people, says PNG top cop

01/11/2011 17:03

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) police top brass has urged its men and women to keep a cool head telling them they "are not in the business to kill people".

The Pacific Islands nation is plagued by increasing lawlessness with police unable to contain crime and sporadic ethnic clashes in Port Moresby, the PNG capital as well as in other urban centres.

Lack of resources and immediate access to operational funding appears to be a stumbling block. The PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill recently initiated talks with Australia to resurrect the shelved Enhanced Cooperation Program.

Releasing a statement this afternoon, acting deputy police commissioner and chief of operations Fred Yakasa said recent directives by colleague Giossi Labi that police will “shoot to kill anyone trying to attack health workers in Lae” were unwarranted.

“Police is not in the business of killing people, irrespective of whether they are criminals or not. Such comments are unbecoming of law enforcement officers. I am making it very clear to my commanders throughout the country that emotional outbursts will not solve our law and order situation nation-wide but effective, efficient and achievable crime fight strategies,” he said.

He added that as police resources were he expected commanders at the divisional, provincial and station levels to have in place crime fight strategies, which would enable them to prioritise resources and manpower to address law and order issues systematically.

Mr Yakasa will be travelling to Lae this week to assess the situation.

“From the visit I will determine what needs to be done to improve the law and order situation in Lae in particular and the Morobe Province as a whole,” he said.

PNG police continue to gain notoriety for being “trigger happy”, their actions often costing the state millions of PNG Kina in damages. A 2004 inquiry commissioned by the PNG government revealed that police wrongful conduct cost the state over K300 million.