Samoa Parliament Approves New Police Powers Bill

Minister of Police has 'sole authority to arm the Samoa police when required'

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, March 7, 2017) – The Minister of Police is now the sole authority to arm the Samoa police when required.

This power was confirmed when Parliament passed into law the Police Powers Amendment Bill 2017 late this morning.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi who is also the Minister of Police said the amendment is needed to set “sound guidelines for the usage of weapons before endorsement or allowing police to be armed.”

“An important aspect of the Act is not to use weapons in a wrongful manner,” said Tuilaepa.

Tuilaepa said it was also important that security and safety is utmost for the police and anyone, especially if the suspect is believed to be armed and that the new amendment will make it harder for police to use weapons unlawfully.

He also said there was a need for the Minister to understand the law and to interact with the Attorney General on this issue.

He also referred to illegal weapons being smuggled into the country, and the reason behind police raids.

He said the Customs office is working to improve the detection of weapons brought unlawfully into the country at every port of entry.

Concern over permits issue to gun owners 

Minister of Works and MP for the Urban East constituency Papalii Niko Lee Hang supports the amendment but raised the concern that more permits have been given out to gun owners for personal use on their plantations.

He believes a choice has been given to the public whereas the police have to go through a long process to be allowed to be armed.

Police to work with village councils

MP for Vaimauga West Sulamanaia Fetaiai Tauiliili Tuivasa believes police must work with and inform the village councils before a police raid.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the concern is the Alii ma Faipule sometimes leak out information about an intended raid, and by the time police arrive, every (marijuana) plant has been removed.

The MP also suggested the use of Taser guns in police raids.

Police raids have mainly been in search of the illegal plant marijuana and have resulted in both police and public casualties and heavy exchange of gunfire between police and the suspects.

Copyright © 2017 Talamua. All Rights Reserved

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