Police prepping "safe and secure" election

Five weeks ahead of the April 9 Election, the Police services are doing everything they can to ensure a "safe and secure" national poll, their Deputy Commissioner said on Friday. 

Deputy Police Commissioner, Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti said the Office is undergoing thorough preparations considering the upcoming election will be the first experience for everyone as voters are now required to return to their respective electoral constituencies to cast a vote. 

"Pre-polling is new to us as well as the change that says we are expected to return to our districts to vote from; not more special votes like before," she said on Friday.

"We are trying our best to ensure that the Ministry [of Police] is prepared to provide the safety needed, required it is a new thing for all of us."

Speaking during the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (P.A.C.M.A.S.) election Reporting Workshop, Papalii clarified while the Police are preparing to maximise security on the day of the election at each site, they are also seeking means to ensure the normal operations of Police continues as usual.

"We are currently scoping of all the polling booth sites but as you know, there are operation orders the Ministry prepares for, for deployment purposes so that the election may be fully covered," she said.

"But also we will be continuing with our general duty because of course, crimes will not stop happening due to the occurrence of the election.

"But in terms of the Ministry of Police's preparations, we want to ensure that the election is secure but also to respond to general core services."

Papalii revealed that only electoral officers, scrutineers, observers and the media are permitted to enter polling sites at any time. However, the use of phones or taking of photos is prohibited inside the designated polling sites.

The media will be provided with accredited media passes by the O.E.C. to ensure they are able to access the designated polling sites.

Electoral Officers in each polling booth includes an Assistant Electoral Officer to conduct the poll at that booth with one or more poll clerks to assist and may appoint such additional Assistant Electoral Officers and poll clerks and such interpreters.

According to the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, individuals or groups are required to apply to the Office in order to become local observers of the election.

So far only one group from the National University of Samoa has submitted an application to be a part of local observers, Faimalo said.

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