By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
A TOTAL of 14 policemen have been suspended pending investigations into their alleged involvement in murders reported in three provinces in the past two weeks.
To date, one policeman has been charged with murder in a shooting that killed Billy Iru, 28, at the Gaire market in Central on March 26.
CID investigators are still taking statements from witnesses and the 13 policemen to complete their probes into four murders in New Ireland, Western and Central.
The statistics have upset Police Comm David Manning who has called on provincial police commanders in the three provinces to thoroughly investigate, arrest and charge the policemen involved if there was evidence of their guilt.
In just under two weeks, seven policemen have been sidelined, another six facing criminal investigations and one charged with murder.
Comm Manning told The National that the investigations into the four murders allegedly involving policemen were being pursued vigorously with the constabulary’s hierarchy pushing for those guilty to be dealt with by the court of law.
“I condemn the actions of policemen who allegedly were invloded the five deaths.
“We will be taking corrective or remedial measures to ensure that this does not happen in the future.
“If it means changing the personnel in each of the command, so be it,” he added.
“We want to eradicate such behaviour or indiscipline in the force.”
A unit attached with Central police is being looked at as persons of interest, in relation to the recovery of a young man’s body at the Tapini road junction who was last seen getting into an unmarked vehicle allegedly driven by policemen along the Hiritano Highway on March 28.
The NCD/Central command is dealing with two deaths with one policeman charged with one count of wilful murder for the shooting of a market trader in the Gaire market.
The second death along the Hiritano Highway is now being investigated by the NCD CID with a unit in Central to be questioned soon.
In New Ireland’s Lihir Island, six policemen have been disarmed and sent back to their base in Kokopo pending investigations into the death of a settler from Tari.
A coroner’s inquest has also been requested in regards to a shooting of a man from Morobe during a looting that was sparked by the death of the Tari man.
The man was allegedly shot with a policeman’s firearm.
In Western’s North Fly, a policeman is being questioned for a fight that caused the death of a man, sparking a bloody tribal fight that reslted in another two deaths.
Comm Manning said: “We continue to struggle, like other state institutions, with maintaining discipline.
“There are good men and women who continue to serve the country despite the limited resources.
“It is the few bad apples who continue to tarnish our image that we are concerned with.
“The investigations that had been initiated is normal for any murder case.
“We will determine and uncover those responsible.”
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA