The Deputy Commissioner of Operations in the Papua New Guinea Police Force says it is not policy to shoot-to-kill when confronted by armed men.
Gari Baki has moved to clarify the force's rules of engagement after a provincial commander warned criminals they would be shot if causing a disturbance or creating fear among citizens.
The Commander, Giosi Labi, issued the public warning after reports of a rise in crime in the Lae area.
However, Mr Baki says the comments are against the headquarters' instructions.
"When a policeman is confronted with a life-threatening situation then the decision to use a firearm is at his discretion, whereby if his life is threatened and if it is death that is imminent in any situation then he can resort to any means of force that is available to him."
The Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Gari Baki.