Citizens are being warned that interfering in police operations when they are trying to arrest suspects is a serious offence.
The warning comes after several videos posted to social media of officers attempting to arrest individuals are met with opposition by members of communities as they intervene in an attempt to stop the arrests.
Speaking on CNC3’s Morning Brew programme on Thursday, Sergeant David Swanson of the TTPS said: “…we are asking communities to desist from doing that because you would be putting yourself, your children in harm’s way. When we come into communities, we will act as professionally as we are supposed to but we will also use the force that we are supposed to that is reasonable for us to effect that arrest.”
He said they tend to exercise restraint in circumstances where communities try to prevent the officers from performing their duties, which is why he supports the Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith’s move toward acquiring non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray and tasers.
He explained that family members of those being arrested are entitled to find out from the officers why they are being arrested and are also entitled to film the police.
However, he informed, they must not get in the way of the officers while they carry out the arrest.
Also speaking about the topic at Wednesday’s weekly press briefing, acting Superintendent of the Central Division, Wayne Mystar, advised citizens that if they believe a loved one is being wrongfully detained, they should not accost or attempt to prevent the officers from carrying out the arrest.
Instead, he said, they should find out which station the person is being taken to. Following this, they should go to the station to sort the matter out.
Section 59 of the Police Service Act 2006 states that: “A person who assaults, obstructs, or resists a police officer in the execution of his duty, or aids or incites another person so to assault, obstruct, or resist a police officer or a person assisting the police officer in the execution of his duty, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for two years.”
Reporter: Rishard Khan