Tonga Police Arrest 137 In 'Operation Safe Streets' Clampdown On Alcohol-Fuelled Crime

Initiative a response to the increasing number of road fatalities and violent attacks in recent weeks

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, August 2, 2016) – 137 people were arrested and charged with drinking in public places and drunk driving in a new 'Operation Safe Streets' by Tonga Police held over the weekend in Tongatapu, in response to the increasing number of road fatalities and violent attacks in recent weeks.

The arrests made from when the operation started on Friday, 29 July to Sunday, 31 July concentrated on recognized areas in Nuku’alofa and throughout Tongatapu, where alcohol fuelled crime is a problem. This includes the Central Business District, waterfront and other areas throughout the island.

Of the 137 arrests, 132 people were arrested in Nuku’alofa, three in Mu’a and two in the western district of Tongatapu. All of the accused who have mainly been charged with drinking in public places with a few drunk driving charges, are expected to appear at the Magistrate’s Court tomorrow Tuesday, 2 August.

Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell said criminal behaviour would not be tolerated and police will be holding people to account for their behaviour.

“This is an operation to prevent crime and protect the public. Drunk drivers will be taken off the road and into the police cells.”

Fatalities 

Police also confirmed they arrested some 60 drunk drivers on the road every weekend, while conducting routine traffic checkpoints.

From January 1 to July 29, 2016 there have been 12 road deaths compared with eight for the whole of 2015. Alcohol and speeding are contributing factors to the majority of these crashes.

“We are encouraging anyone who is out socializing to make sure they have a safe plan for getting home whether it is getting a ride with a sober driver, catching a taxi or arranging to stay with friends,” said the Police Commissioner.

The public is encouraged to contact police if they are concerned about the behaviour of people in their communities.

“If someone’s behaving suspiciously being disorderly, drinking alcohol in banned areas or when they are clearly underage, we want to hear about it.”

The public can contact Nuku’alofa Central Station on 922 or 26494.

In addition, police held a meeting with the Liquor Licensing Authority, nightclub and bar owners on 29 July, where license holders were reminded of their obligation under the Intoxicating Liquor Act, not to serve drunks and minors and to limit the numbers allowed into the bars.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2016 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

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