Papua New Guinea National Court Judge Panuel Mogish has called on police commissioner David Manning to enforce strict protocols on police officers on the issue of State-issued firearms to eradicate abuse.

“Improper use of firearm by police officers, resulting in death, only tarnish the image of the constabulary,” he said.

“For the police officers, it could mean an imprisonment sentence and loss of employment.”

He made the comment in the National Court in Bomana when sentencing Constable Japheth Muka, 35, of Kuiona village, North Waghi, Jiwaka to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

“(Muka) cannot blame anyone for his actions as he pulled the trigger that took the life of Iru Billy on March 26, 2021 at Gaire village in Central,” he said.

Judge Mogish said the high frequency of police officers abusing their powers by killing people was a serious concern.

“Only those who have undergone training in firearm management should be in possession of State-issued firearms,” he said.

“They should be issued a certificate signed by the police commissioner that they have undergone training in firearm management and are fit and proper to be armed.”

He also stressed that police officers should never forget that they could face jail time if they fell out of line in enforcing their constitutional mandate.

“In the discharge of their constitutional duties as police officers, they must have regards to the rights of the individual, whether one is a suspect or not,” he added.

Judge Mogish said State-issued firearms should not be issued to police officers who never underwent training.

“Police officers found guilty on any disciplinary or criminal offences should be denied access to these weapons of destruction,” he said.

He said the primary duty of police was to enforce the law and protect lives and properties and they must do so within the law.

Judge Mogish said all the good things Muka said in mitigation could not outweigh the fact that a life had been lost.