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Police arrest over 550 people during COVID-19 operation

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 23/04/2020

In less than a month, police have arrested close to 600 people but also recorded a drop in reported crime compared to the same period in the previous year.

Since the start of the Police COVID-19 Operation last month, Police have arrested 568 people.

Of the 568 arrested, 357 were arrested for breaches of the National Emergency Lockdown Notice/Restriction Notice and the obstruction of authorized officers, 77 were arrested for drunk in public places, 33 for possession of illicit drugs, 28 on domestic violence and the rest on other crimes including assault, theft and housebreaking.

In a press release from Police, the Police Commissioner – Stephen Caldwell states their mission is to support the Government, to support the Ministry of Health in citizens well and safe.

Caldwell says Police do this by educating the people but when that approach falls on death ears, they will enforce the full extent of the law in this National Health Emergency.

He urged people to respect the law, respect police officers as they go about their duty.

The Commissioner acknowledged this is a difficult time, but said the public needs to follow instructions and comply with directions and people need to stay home during the curfew hours.

Since the curfew commenced on the 29th of March the total reported crime has dropped 37% compared with the same period last year.

Police are working together with His Majesty’s Armed Forces and the Tonga Fire & Emergency Services to enforce the curfew and Caldwell warned they will not hesitate to take enforcement action on those who continue to ignore the curfew.

© Radio and Television Tonga News