RPNGC, PNGDF join Forces: PNGDF Personnel to be issued Special Constable to “exercise all Powers and authorities” of an RPNGC Officer during emergencies

Monday 29 January 2024

Police Commissioner David Manning (left) and Acting Defence Force Commander Commodore Philip Polewara during a press conference at Police Headquarters, Port Moresby.

Police Commissioner David Manning has highlighted content of a key internal document signed today between Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, regarding rules of engagement of the PNG Defence Force personnels, to address ongoing security concerns and collaborative measures going forward following the events of January 10, 2024.

Commissioner Manning emphasized the need for a comprehensive review of the rules of engagement between the RPNGC and the PNGDF.

 He stated, “The law and order landscape of PNG has changed in the last decade, so we are looking into changes in the RPNGC as well as the PNGDF to account for that. This will all be designed to take back the country and deal with organized crime.”

Mr Manning revealed that a recent review had taken place to establish clear terms of reference or rules of engagement on the collaboration between RPNGC and PNGDF.

 The focus, he noted, would be on how best the RPNGC and the PNGDF could collaborate under callout arrangements or state of emergency situations.

Commissioner Manning expressed the intention to improve auxiliary officers within the RPNGC, turning them into effective eyes and ears in the communities.

Mr Manning acknowledged the unacceptable and avoidable nature of the events that transpired on January 10. “I take my hat off and salute the members and commands who successfully prevented the situation from escalating into a widespread crisis.”

He also expressed gratitude to the PNGDF for standing alongside the RPNGC during these challenging times.

Acting Defence Force Commander Commodore Philip Polewara echoed Commissioner Manning’s sentiments, emphasizing the need for a united front in maintaining internal stability.

He stated, “We will stand with the police and work, as internal stability to us is a great concern. Whatever means that allow us to support the police, we will support.”

Commodore Polewara also highlighted recent incidents in Southern Highlands and Enga, expressing concern and reiterating the importance of collaboration with organizations such as the fire service and ambulance services to address these issues effectively.

Commisioner Manning and Acting Commander Polewara  signed an internal document today that gives powers to the members of the PNGDF to perform similar duties to a member of the RPNGC.

“Our service men and women of the PNGDF will be issued special constable to exercise all powers and authorities of an RPNG Officer,” Manning added.

As both the RPNGC and the PNGDF pledge to work together to ensure safer and more secure communities, Commissioner Manning concluded the conference by announcing imminent changes in command structures and operational procedures within the coming week.

The details of these changes will be disclosed in the next few days.

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