Manning made this comment in the wake of increasing attacks on police officers around the country. In the recent incident last night, two members of the Mt Hagen based Mobile Squad 5 deployed to Porgera in the Enga Province were ambushed and shot by a band of more than 30 gunmen from the Hela Province.
One of the policeman was shot in the head. The second policeman was shot in his upper right thigh. Both are said to be in critical conditions and were flown into Port Moresby today for urgent medical treatment.
Commissioner Manning, who was there to admit the policemen into the Pacific International Hospital, said: “This is intolerable. The public should not be attacking policemen. The police force is the symbol of state. It is an arm of government tasked with the fundamental role of protecting and serving the 8 million people of PNG and bringing to justice those who have committed crimes.
“The continuous attacks on police can only hamper our efforts to effectively provide the full and wide range of policing services our people deserve.
“The number of policemen actually attacked and killed by the public has increased considerably over the last ten years and this is alarming. These attacks cannot continue unchecked so I appeal to the public to please stop attacking policemen who are there to protect and serve you.
“For this latest attack, I will ensure that all resources and manpower are made available to bring to justice those responsible.
“A Police Investigative Task Force is currently investigating. We are working around the clock and negotiating with local leaders in Porgera to identify and arrest the criminals who clearly have no respect for the law or police,” Manning said.
He appealed to the public to stop attacking police and assist the Constabulary deliver a safe and secure PNG.
Manning further promised that he will ensure police officers are given all the support required to effectively and efficiently police the nation. One of his priorities will be to ensure that they are properly trained and equipped. He said welfare issues, housing, improved terms and conditions, access to medical services are some of the issues he will be looking into as Commissioner.
However, Manning also appealed to members of the Constabulary to do their jobs professionally, without fear, favour, malice or ill-will.
“Our behaviour, conduct and attitude towards the members of the public also dictates how they react or respond to us. So I am appealing to every member of the Constabulary to treat the public with respect. Be firm but fair. Do your job honestly and at all times remember that we are servants of the people,” Manning said.
The Commissioner will also be looking at strengthening the command and control aspect of the Constabulary and improving discipline as well so that the end result will be the emergence of a professional and committed police service.
(First Constable Andrew Wapi, a member of Mt Hagen based Mobile Squad 5 who was airlifted to Port Moresby after being shot in the head by armed gunmen in Porgera, Enga Province)