Elderly father frustrated by Police response

An elderly father from Vaitele whose home was broken into and vandalised last Sunday says he is frustrated by an allegedly slow and inadequate Police response.

Popo Su’a told the Samoa Observer that he arrived home in the early evening, about 8pm, to find a smashed front door.

“I feared for my life and that of my wife’s because the house was completely dark and we did not know if there was anyone still inside," he said. 

"Also we did not want to touch any evidence left behind until the Police had concluded their investigation."

Mr. Su’a said their family members called the Police but 45 minutes passed without response.

“We called again but the person that answered was very rude on the phone, they should not treat us elderly that way," Mr. Su'a alleged.

“I am not trying to bad mouth the Police; I am a concerned citizen calling for [the] Police to improve their services in terms of responding to the needs of the community especially around crimes."

Mr. Su'a further said the Police practice of not dusting for fingerprints was likely to frustrate investigations.

"How are they going to catch or pin point the culprit because fingerprints at the crime scene are the clear evidence," he said.

The 76-year-old said he was advised by Police to file a criminal complaint the next day.

“But I asked them who will the complaint be against?," he said. “I went to the Police station last Monday and made a statement.

“I started to question the process of their investigations. I am suggesting to [the] Police to invest in having the [equipment for] collecting fingerprints be available during police investigations.”

He also said that Police told him that they would not investigate if he did not file a criminal complaint but without an identified perpetrator he said it was unclear whom it should be lodged against.

“Will they just do nothing after a crime was committed or what if someone is hurt?,"he said.

“What really scared me on Sunday night was that when I entered my home there was a knife on the chair near the door yet that knife was in our kitchen when we left. For the safety of the community, equipment should be put in place and have people train as experts in the field that is needed.”

The father-of-four also expressed his fear of sleeping at night since the incident.

“Even though I pay for a security guard for protection, it does not make me safe and I feel like I am losing confidence in the Police.," Mr. Su'a said. “My [motive in raising this matter] is not to damage the image of the Police; no, I just wanted to voice my frustration so that they can improve their services in responding to calls from the public.

“There have been claims that the [cases]  of vandalism amid the community have increased. And now when I sleep, I hold onto a light powered by batteries to defend myself in case of a break in.”

Mr. Su’a added that in a situation where someone was injured and Police were slow to arrive on the scene, the public would feel legitimate concerns for its safety.

“Before the vandalism occurred, there have been quite a lot of incidents [at my home]

"Cash worth $700 was taken and [during a ...] period of three months I have had four phones stolen.

"I suspect that the people behind this are familiar with us."

Multiple requests for comment about the incident made to the Police Ministry via phone calls and emails have not been responded to over the past three days.

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