Police make 3,500 arrests in ten months

Police made close to 3,500 arrests between 1 January and 5 December this year for various criminal offences, Police Commissioner Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil has revealed.

Fuiavaili'ili told the Samoa Observer in a telephone interview on Monday that the large number of arrests have kept the Courts, the Tanumalala Prison and the Attorney General’s Office busy this year.

"It’s just interesting that since January 1st until December 5th this year, we have arrested 3,477 people and that’s a lot of arrests,” he said. “And so our cells were filled, the courts, at Tanumalala prison, the Attorney General’s Office were busy, the police were busy as well with investigations so there was a lot of work to do and resources utilised for it as well.”

This year has seen a spike in criminal offences compared to 2019, according to the Commissioner, but he said he didn’t have the statistics on hand to show the increase. 

"The numbers for this year have gone up, I don’t have all the details but the numbers are all up right now in the general categories,” he added. “From the general categories to domestic violence to traffic-related incidents. It’s not much of an increase, however, there is still an increase.”

The rise in public calls to the Police for assistance also worries Fuiavaili'ili, who is concerned that a policeman or woman could get hurt, and a lot of these situations can be avoided if people are responsible for their actions.

"I tell you, it’s not an easy job, and I think it’s a very explosive situation that the police officers are called to, and they are flustered into these emotionally charged situations and they might get hurt from there. 

“These situations like domestic violence, brawls and drunkards are a drain to our resources and a lot of these incidents, from my position are avoidable.”

The death of three people from traffic-related incidents in the last two weeks are also a cause for concern according to the Commissioner, who added that 30 per cent of the calls for Police’s assistance is in response to an alcohol-related situation. 

Arrests that the Police have made in the last four days in connection with driving while under the influence (D.U.I.) have also risen, added Fuiavaili'ili.

"In those four days we arrested 43 people and the number charged was D.U.I., driving while under the influence of an intoxicant or alcohol. Of these 43 people, 40 of them are here in Upolu and the three from Savaii," he added.

"Forty-one were male and two were female. And in those four days we got 343 calls for the police to come out and help them and this was anywhere around the country, where people would call in that the police are needed because there’s either a brawl or there are drunks disturbing families."

The Commissioner added that between 24–27 December a total of 152 tickets were issued by the Police to motorists who drove without a license as well vehicles lacking proper registration.

“We issued 152 tickets and the number one ticket that we wrote in these four days were the unlicensed drivers and then the second-highest number we wrote was for unlicensed vehicles and then it comes down from there," he said.

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