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By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea lawbreakers who disrupt public order and ruin other people’s festive season will be arrested, charged and be placed in police cells across the country, says Internal Security Minister Peter Tsiamalili Jr.

As the festive weekend commences this Friday, provincial police commands across the country are already implementing their operations.

Supported by the police hierarchy and now backed by the Internal Security Ministry, the zero tolerance for lawbreakers during the festive season will see an immediate lock up of all men and women who disrupt the festive season for others.

Police Commissioner David Manning said he had issued a directive for all provincial police commanders to “not show leniency to those who wish to be involved in disruptive behaviour”.

“Public safety measures will be in place to ensure everyone enjoys this festive period without any issues,” he said.

“Offenders will go direct to Bomana from Port Moresby, or the nearest lockup in Lae, Kimbe, Hagen and Goroka and every other part of the country for whatever time it takes for them to make bail.

Christmas is a time for embracing our faith and spending enjoyable time with family and friends,” Minister Tsiamalili said.

‘We are Christian’
“We are a Christian nation, with Christian values, and anyone who disturbs our peace at this very important time of the year is showing great disrespect to our country.

“Our people should not have to put up with people who are full of drink and bad attitude.

“So I issue a very clear warning to people who loiter in public places with intent to steal or fight, or who think they can drink and get behind the wheel of a car.

“Police are on high alert and they will catch lawbreakers and lock them up for their actions.”

In Morobe, acting provincial police commander Superintendent John Daviaga said that police would ensure all drunkards and those who disturbed the peace would be locked up until they either sobered up, or if they were arrested and charged they would pay bail.

In the National Capital District (NCD), police operational orders will also see intoxicated people “dealt with”.

Both commands said that due to the limited police cell space it will be the prerogative of the police commands to decide on how they will deal with people caught drinking and driving, fighting, disturbing the peace and ruining the festivity for others.

NCD Metropolitan Commander Silva Sika said: “Police operations will be done with the support of all those within the command.”

Manus build-up
In Manus, 40 police personnel are on the ground to carry out the Christmas operations. They will have assistance from the Correctional Service and 10 mobile squad personnel who will be flown into the province.

Manus police commander Chief inspector Kiweri Kesambi said that the team’s focus would be on people consuming marijuana and homebrew.

According to PPC Kesambi, operations would cover mainly Lorengau which was the central location for everyone coming in and going out to the villages, areas in the highway and the coastline.

The minister said the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) crackdown on violent crimes over recent months was continuing into 2023, with police on high alert during the Christmas and New Year period when there was often an upsurge in violence and other criminal activities

“Consistent with government policy, Commissioner Manning has issued orders through his chain of command that police will not be showing leniency to people involved in disruptive behaviour,” the minister said after being briefed by the commissioner on the RPNGC’s intent to strengthen public safety measures during the holiday period.

“I have every confidence in the leadership of the RPNGC, and police will use every legal means and the appropriate use of force to take disruptive people off the street.

‘Carrying weapons’
“This includes people who get into fights and confrontations, carry weapons of any kind, or are drunk in public, and particularly anyone who commits violence against women.”

He further thanked the personnel from the RPNGC and Correctional Service for their dedication to their jobs at what could be a stressful time of the year for all who worked in the law and order.

“Our men and women in uniform do an outstanding job,” he said.

“They place their lives on the line for our communities and our nation, and I thank them for their service.”

Miriam Zarriga is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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