Friday 30th June 2023

Police Commissioner David Manning at a recent press conference.

Intended amendments to the Criminal Code Act will give police greater capacity to take down domestic terrorist activities through increased powers to search, investigate, intercept, and prosecute people involved in these activities.

The Minister for Internal Security, Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jr, and Commissioner of Police, David Manning, are collaborating with law enforcement agencies and the Office of the Attorney General to draft the planned amendments.

Commissioner Manning said, “International organised crime networks are behind domestic terrorists who are involved in kidnappings, killings, rapes, and other acts to terrorise communities, and as in every other country, Papua New Guinea is stepping up the fight to beat them.

“Working with the Minister for Internal Security, the RPNGC is developing draft legislation that is strategically comprehensive and operationally robust that will enable us to take these criminals off the street.

“The new laws will be tough, and criminals will complain that they are too tough, but these changes are all about protecting our law-abiding citizens and their right to freedom,” Mr Manning said.

“While amendments have been made in recent years to the Criminal Code Act 1974, now is the time for us to take the next major step forward to confront this menace of domestic terrorism.”

The legislative amendments will serve to define and criminalise acts of domestic terrorism, introduce penalty provisions for acts of domestic terrorism, and to provide explicit powers for the investigation of and response to acts of domestic terrorism.

The amendments will provide for reasonable additional powers to respond to incidents of domestic terrorism where there exist reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence of domestic terrorism is being committed or is about to be committed.

They will further update the penalty provisions for serious offences under sections 353, 354, 355, and 402 of the Criminal Code Act of 1974, and section 4 of the Bail Act 1977.

Mr Manning added, these reforms may impose limitations on the individual rights of some, but they will be reasonable, proportionate and in the interest of public safety.

The amendments are also intended to protect the people from the increasing menace of kidnap for ransom, sexual offences and the proliferation of firearms use by criminal groups.

“We intend to introduce a more comprehensive, all-encompassing approach to this issue, something that is glaringly absent in our current legal provisions.”

Mr Manning further explained that the goal in implementing these specific provisions against domestic terrorism is multifaceted.

“Primarily, we seek to communicate an unambiguous message that such acts will not be tolerated and will be countered with the full might of the law.

“The proposed amendments will facilitate more precise tracking and reporting of instances of domestic terrorism.

“This invaluable information is essential for strategic policy decisions, resource allocation, and evaluating the impact and success of counter-terrorism measures.”

Commissioner Manning said the way criminals operate has changed particularly in the use of information and communications technologies, and police powers need to be strengthened.

The amendments will enable more effective lawful communications interception of channels and electronic devices used by domestic terrorists.

“Many of our laws do not take sufficient account of the way criminals, including domestic terrorists, use the internet and phone systems in carrying out violent crimes, and this is a key area for reform.”

Mr Manning expressed confidence, the amendments will further improve law and order cooperation and collaboration with international partners through training, equipment, technical advice and the use of new technologies and resources.

“Having interoperability with domestic and international partners requires the proper and recognised definition of a domestic terrorist and acts of domestic terrorism, as will be clear in the amendments,” Mr Manning said.

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