As the New Ireland police get set for the festive period operations, Provincial Police Commander (PPC), Chief Inspector Albert Beli has revealed that communities can and have the right to apprehend persons who may disrupt cause nuisance during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
PPC Beli told PNG HAUSBUNG that if the communities in the province can, there are allowed to conduct a citizen’s arrest and detain assailants until police are alerted and arrive on scene.
“If they can, why not. We can, within the communities, use the power to apprehend or arrest anyone that is committing crime or anything dangerous that may cause distress to the community.”
The PPC emphasized that this is a pivotal piece of knowledge that he would like to pass on to the communities around the province.
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), powers to effect a citizen’s arrest are given by statute law, namely the Arrest Act (Chapter 339).
Under s5 of the Arrest Act, an ordinary citizen is empowered to arrest another person without warrant, if that person believes on reasonable grounds that such a person is either in the process of committing an offence or has committed an offence, where that offence carries imprisonment as its penalty.
Under s14 of the Arrest Act, the ordinary citizen that is effecting arrest must at that point inform the arrested person that he or she is now under arrest and must also tell the person the reasons for the arrest and must then tell arrested person to accompany him or her to a police station or a court.
Reasonable force may be used by the person effecting arrest to prevent the arrested person from escaping.
Then s16 of the Arrest Act requires the person effecting arrest to hand over the arrested person to a police officer, or take or cause the arrested person to be taken to a police station, as soon as possible after making the arrest.