Police warn against blocking operations

Friday, February 8, 2019 - 05:45

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