The Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) is warning persons against challenging or interrupting law enforcement officials from performing their duties following an incident in the capital last weekend when police tried to apprehend persons brandishing weapons.
In a statement, the police said last Friday night they received “information of persons brandishing firearms and possible assaults with said firearms” at an area just on the outskirts of the capital.
The police said a police team was sent to the area and “upon arrival, the officers observed the disorder and immediately attempted to quell the situation.
“Whilst doing so, a male proceeded to physically attempt to prevent the officers from conducting searches of suspected persons; that individual assaulted a police officer and was detained by other officers present.”
But the police said a crowd gathered and persons “repeatedly grabbed the male suspect, as well as police personnel, in an effort to free the man from lawful custody.
“Missiles were also thrown at the officers and the police vehicle, which was parked nearby. The team of officers eventually left the area with the male suspect, who remains in custody in relation to charges of obstruction, assault, resisting arrest, use of obscene language, and damage to property.
“The actions of the male who is currently in custody and other persons within the crowd, obstructed the police in the execution of their lawful duties. Their actions were deliberate attempts to prevent the officers from finding and seizing illegal guns from persons who were in the area,” the statement said.
The police said it is “unlawful for anyone to obstruct the police during the execution of their sworn duty to protect citizens and maintain law and order.
“It is also dangerous for persons who engage in such illegal behavior as the police are authorized in law to use deadly force if the situation demands it. It is impossible to achieve our crime reduction mandate without public cooperation.
“Such acts not only embolden criminal elements but restrict the ability of the police to reduce violent crimes,” the police statement said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police, George Nicholas, said “there seems to be a blatant disregard for law and order in this country to the extent where people resist and even challenge the police.”
Nicholas, while praising law enforcement officers for showing restraint, said the situation that occurred on Friday night “must be dealt with.
“I must applaud the police for exercising restraint, but it’s a situation where the police have to push back. We cannot tolerate that kind of resistance and that kind of disregard to the officers,” Nicholas told reporters.
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