Festive season crackdown nets 146 arrests

Police arrested 146 people during their ongoing festive season crime crackdown for offences including being armed with a dangerous weapon and using insulting language, the Police Commissioner has confirmed. 

Though the operation only concludes on Saturday - and the provided figures do not reflect any arrests made on Friday night or Saturday - the number of arrests has already eclipsed by five those made over the same last year.

The Police's festive season operation started on December 23 last year and finishes on January 4; the period has also seen the force respond to an average of more than 70 calls for public assistance a day over the Christmas and New Year period. 

Eighteen arrests were made in Savai'i while 128 cases were based in Upolu, the Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, said. 

"Nine females [were arrested] and the rest were males,” he said.

Fuiavailiili said that the most common offence was drunk driving.

“The majority of these arrests were cases from drunk driving [but also included] being armed with a dangerous weapon, insulting words, assault, causing injuries, careless driving, and causing intentional damage," he said.

“We also responded to 737 calls for service throughout the period of 23rd of December 2019 to the 2nd of January 2020.

“Most of the calls were for general policing such as domestic cases involving alcohol. The majority of calls were received on December 25, 2019 and the second highest of calls were received on the first of January 2020.”

Alcohol was a major factor in a lot of the Police call outs. 

“There were a lot of calls we responded to but [that did] not end in formal investigations but the majority turn into an arrest or ongoing investigation.

“Gathering statistics is something we started doing three years [ago] which is the duty of our statistical unit.

“We do it manually and we also use a computerised system where all the investigated matters are being inputted in the scope which is called Police Pro.”

He added that the significance of the statistics they gather is to help Police focus their efforts on priority areas. 

“If we find out one of the problems, for example, [is the misuse of] vehicles in terms of alcohol related crimes then we [can] focus on doing more community programmes [... centring on raising the public's] awareness," he said. 

“We will also talk to the Liquor Board but there is a road safety programme put on by [the] Pacific Island Chiefs of Police [regional non-profit] and we can dip into [those resources] which will assist us with road traffic issues.

“[That] will not only provide training but also material and expertise to handle those kind of matters. New Zealand also has a strong road safety programme that we are trying to use to adapt in Samoa.

Fuiavailiili said that Police are hoping that these initiatives will combine to help reduce the number of traffic accidents on the nation's roads. 

During the 2018-19 festive season crime operation Police arrested 141 people. 

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