Commissioner of Police Gari Baki has condemned the shooting of a policeman in Lae Morobe province and has vowed to review existing gun laws in an effort to combat crime in the country.
The Commissioner strongly expressed these views today following a shooting incident in which a police constable and a civilian were both shot and injured by a crime suspect at Eriku on Monday night.
First Constable Amos Kowar attached to the Lae Metropolitan station was shot in the face and back when he was about to arrest a crime suspect at Eriku yesterday.
The gunman also shot a man in his right thigh before decamping.
Kowar is in a critical condition at the Angau hospital and police in Morobe have launched a massive man hunt for the suspect identified as Gideon Pokatou in his early twenties from Busuma village Lae in Morobe province.
The injured policeman and his comrades went to Eriku to apprehend Pokatou, a suspect in various crimes including armed robbery and motor vehicle thefts when they were attacked.
Pokatou was previously arrested and charged for armed robbery and being in possession of a home made gun and live ammunition in 2005.
The suspect allegedly breached a K500 bail condition and was linked to various other crimes.
While condemning the shooting, Mr Baki said mandatory sentences, hefty fines and lengthy jail terms should be introduced and imposed on people who violate gun laws in the country.
He said criminals who use firearms against the people and the state should be thrown into jail and locked away for very long periods.
He said the latest shooting resembles the grim realities faced by policemen and policewomen in their line of duty.
He said he would vigorously pursue the certain recommendations contained in the information paper compiled by the Guns Control Committee in 2005.
As part of efforts undertaken by the Constabulary to control the use of guns in the country a moratorium banning the issuance of new firearm licenses was imposed in 2001.
The moratorium is still effective but we need to amend certain laws to severely punish offenders in our effort to deter gun violence in the country, Commissioner Baki said today.
Commissioner Baki said tougher gun laws will help deter crime and reduce the greater risks faced by police.
Police investigations into the shootings are continuing.
Mr Gari L. Baki, OBE, DPS, C.St.J, QPM
Commissioner of Police