Parliament passes Police Powers bill

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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Cabinet is set to announce a Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment next week.

Cabinet is set to announce a Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment next week. (Photo: File)

The Police Powers Amendment Bill 2017 has been passed.

The bill was brought to Parliament yesterday by Prime Minister and Minister of Police, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. 

He said the bill sets out the protocols, which authorise and restrict sworn Constables to be armed while in public, with relevant provisions included aimed at protecting the public. 

Tuilaepa said there is an increasing number of weapons being smuggled into the country, which has resulted in Police raids from time to time.

Member for Anoamaa West, Lauofo Fonotoe Meredith raised concerns over actions to be taken in emergency situations, which require urgent responses. 

The Member said there should be an additional provision, which covers urgent matters where it would be time consuming, and possibly life threatening, for the set procedure to be enacted.

Sulumanaia Fetaiai Tuivasa, Member for Vaimauga East said that in previous years, the Police were armed unnecessarily.

However, he noted that times change and sometimes weapons are a necessity.

He suggested that a provision be considered which may permit the Village Fono to assist in police raids, when necessary.

But Tuilaepa said that in some cases, the involvement of Village Fonos in raids has been counterproductive.

For example, at the time of police arrival at a raid scene, a lot of evidence has been removed which defeats the purpose of undercover raids.

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