BY MICHAEL ARNOLD
There will not be any deviation to the major principle of “zero tolerance” in regards to brutality by the Police Force.
This was emphasised yesterday by the office of the Police Commissioner Gari Baki, following this week’s one-day crippling strike by PMV bus owners and operators following the alleged brutalising of a crew member and driver in Port Moresby on Monday.
Baki’s office said the matter will be decisively dealt with in all seriousness and those responsible will be brought to justice.
The majority of Port Moresby city’s public transport commuters were caught by surprise at the sudden strike which saw workers, students, emergency and shift workers turning up late to work or school.
Schools were badly disrupted forcing anxious and worried parents to urgently make alternative arrangements for their children with most missing out on classes.
Businesses were also placed on high alert in case the situation turned nasty to uncontrolled rioting and looting as experienced in the past.
Foreign citizens and embassies were also put on high alert for the same reason.
Police reports claim that a route 17 operator had parked in the middle of the road, causing a traffic jam which resulted in him being assaulted by police officers.
The PMV operator was later hospitalised the same day raising questions on the retaliatory action taken by police which is already becoming a common occurrence in PNG.
In light of the incident, Police Commissioner Gari Baki still maintains a zero tolerance policy on police brutality and that the recent case will be dealt with accordingly.
The RPNGC hierarchy has openly condemned the incident, stating that force should only be used “when necessary.”
Examples of which include cases where an offender displays “resistance” or “retaliates” against an officer or in cases when an officer’s life is endangered.
Furthermore, in such cases where force is warranted, then it should be applied within “reasonable parameters.”
However, given the recent public backlash against police regarding the case, the RPNG also acknowledges the unique challenges that PNG police officers face in many parts of the country. Especially when dealing with repeat and persistent offenders.
“The PNG public can sometimes be very violent and you have persistent and repeat offenders, but we, as officers of the law need to rise above it,” said RPNGC director media, chief superintendent Dominic Kakas.The RPNGC maintains that it has a disciplinary system in order, but that system needs to be reinforced at all operational levels.”We have a good disciplinary system in place and it is now up to commanders down the line to enforce standards of discipline within the ranks,” Mr Kakas said.Investigations into the recent assault by police officers are ongoing and the suspects are likely to also face criminal charges.