Police directed to serve unattended bench warrants

Police Commissioner David Manning will be directing all police officers throughout the nation to serve all unattended National and Supreme Court bench warrants immediately.

Commissioner Manning made this undertaking at the opening of the legal year 2020 in Port Moresby.

Manning said: “According to the court records presented by the Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea, Sir Gibbs Salika, a total of 5,927 National Court and 128 Supreme Court bench warrants are yet to be executed by the Police nationwide.

“This is a massive number of active bench warrants and Police officers are on the brink of being charged for contempt. We are a disciplined organisation bound to follow orders and those legal orders must be taken seriously and acted upon.

“I want all commanders to act immediately and serve the bench warrants without further delay. This is the beginning of a new legal year and I want the Constabulary to clear all outstanding cases and start fresh. From our past records it shows that we really need to pull up our socks.”

However, he also highlighted that part of the reason for the non-execution of the warrants was due to limited resources and funding to police coupled with the difficult and challenging terrain and lack of proper infrastructure nationwide.

“I understand that transportation and accommodation remains the biggest challenges for police. However, that being said, I will be looking into this to ensure these backlogs of bench warrants are effectively served. Any challenges or obstacles faced in serving must be brought before the responsible courts and or the Police hierarchy as soon as possible to seek other options,” Manning said.

He also urged the provincial authorities to work in partnership with the law and justice sector to support police officers to serve outstanding bench warrants. He said fighting crime is everyone’s business and Police need a helping hand from the public as well other authorities in carrying out its constitutional duties.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika officially opened the Legal Year on Monday morning at a ceremony held at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Port Moresby. Sir Gibbs committed the Police, the Correctional Services and the legal fraternity, including the Judiciary, to God. He also urged all members of the law and justice sector to pull up their socks and be smart in serving the nation.

“This is a very significant event today. We are here to commit our services to the Lord Almighty. It has been a tradition and this year is no exception. I want us to reaffirm our commitment to this country and take on the challenges of 2020 in good faith,” the Chief Justice said.

(Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, far right, Police Commissioner David Manning, second right, Parade Commander Chief Inspector Maritua and Police College Commandant Chief Superintendent Peter Philips at the Opening of Legal Year 2020 parade at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in the National Capital District)

Press release