Domestic Violence Up with 587 Arrests during Covid-19 Lockdown

Lagi Keresoma

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The 33% figure is based on the cases reported to and the police attended. There were other cases reported to the Samoa Victim Support Group and the Commissioner is interested in the two entities working together on the statistics.

 

By Lagi Keresoma

 

APIA, SAMOA – 21 MAY 2020: Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil has confirmed that 587 arrests were made since the COVID-19 State of Emergency lockdown was since 21 March.

“It is a significant amount compared to last year,” said Fuiavailili.

525 of the arrests were in Upolu and 62 in Savai’i and ranged from incidents such as assault, burglary and theft, causing injury, domestic violence, threatening words and being armed with deadly weapons.

Domestic Violence on the Rise

33% of all cases were domestic violence cases triggered by various issues such as money, alcohol and problems within families according to Fuiavailili.

This figure is based on the cases reported and the police attended to. There were other cases that were reported to the Samoa Victim Support Group and the Commissioner is interested in the two entities working together on the statistics.

He believes the figures could be more than 33%. “Fortunately, all there is no death related to domestic violence.”

$21,200 revenue collected during lock-down

Police also collected $21,200 in fines from the violation of the SOE orders.

“This is in relation to the violation of public bus transport overloading, supermarkets not complying with opening and closing time, street vendors, public gathering such as bingos and using small boats to transport people between Savai’i and Upolu,” said Fuiavailili.

Only two people were detained but not arrested for breaching the SOE orders. Ninety nine (99) breaches were recorded in Upolu and one in Savai’i.

Fuiavailili said before any arrests or tickets were issued, verbal and written warnings were given. 335 were issued with 275 for Upolu and 60 for Savai’i.

“We want to apply the law in the spirit of the law by giving people chances or counselling before the last resort of issuing a ticket or arrest,” he said.

Police have also been called to attend to people swimming on Sundays when it was forbidden and there are concerns about alcohol sale on Sundays.

Early afternoon and an empty Fugalei bus depot despite easing the travel orders

Prison secured

Fuiavailili said people have been calling in wanting to know prison updates, and as of today, there are 368 prisoners altogether with 277 at Tanumalala, and the rest at the Oloamanu Juvenile Centre at Mulifanua and Vaia’ata prison in Savai’i.

Acknowledging the community support

The Commissioner acknowledged the community, stakeholders and overseas partners for their support.

Since the  SOE lockdown, an average of 500 police officers have been assigned on daily duties not only to monitor the SOE, but general policing work and trying to interpret the orders and doing their best to deliver on both sides.

The SOE ends on the 2 June 2020, but whether it will be lifted or continue remains to be seen.