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Placing a member of the Guyana Police Force under close or open arrest during a criminal investigation is illegal and inappropriate. It is a horrible attempt to hoodwink the the public. It gives the public a false impression that the police are assertive in their investigation into the matter and that they are complying with the law when in fact it may be the complete opposite. I am wary of hearing the police announcing that a rank who is under criminal investigation was placed under close arrest and later open arrest. It is deceitful.
Editor, please permit me to explain. Here is the definition being used by the police in relation to arrest, ” Arrest is the taking or restraining of a person from his or her liberty in order that he /she shall be forth coming to answer an alleged or suspected crime or offence. ( mere words does not constitute an arrest. There must be some form of touching or restraint.)
Open and close arrests are confined to disciplinary offences under section 4 of the Police ( Discipline ) Act Chapter 17; 01 and have no place in criminal investigation. My co accused, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe in a letter to the editor clearly explained close and open arrest. I agree with his article, but would like to add my little ‘three bits’ to the discussion.
Section 10 ( 1) of the said chapter specified when a member of the Force can be arrested in relation to breaches of section 4 of the Act. It states, ” Any member of the Force may be placed under arrest – ( a ) if he is under the influence of intoxicating liquor to such an extent as to be incapable of performing his duties; ( b ) if he commits any insubordinate act, or uses insubordinate or disrespectful language to a person in authority over him; ( c ) if he willfully disobeys the lawful order of his superior; ( d ) If he strikes or attempt to strike a member of the Force superior in rank to himself. ”
Whenever the police are investigating matters of a criminal nature and they contemplate making a lawful arrest they must be guided by section 16 (1 ) of the Police Act Chapter 16; 01. It states ” It shall be lawful for any member of the Force to arrest without a warrant – ( a ) any person who commits within his view an offence punishable either upon indictment or upon summary conviction; or. ( b ) Any person whom any other person charges with having committed a felony or misdemeanor or (c) Any person who any other person : ( 1) suspects of having committed a felony or misdemeanor; or ( 11 ) charges with having committed an offence punishable on summary conviction, if such other person is willing to accompany the member of the Force affecting such arrest to a police station and enter into a recognisance to prosecute such charge; or ( d ) any person whom such member of the Force finds disturbing the public peace or ( e ) Any person whom he has good cause to suspect of having committed any felony, misdemeanor or breach of the peace; or ( f ) Any person whom he finds between the hours of 8 o’clock in the evening and 5 o’clock in the morning lying or loitering in a highway, yard or other place and not able to give a satisfactory account of himself. ”
The above are clear directions when anyone including members of the Force can be lawfully arrested without a warrant. This Act does not speak about close or open arrest. It is arrest. It speaks of anyone. Members of the Force are not excluded. The police must slavishly comply with the law. Therefore, they must stop propagating the unadulterated piffle that during the course of criminal investigation a member of the Force was placed on close or open arrest. I may have opened a ‘ can of worms. ‘ So be it
Let the confabulation flow.
Assistant Commissioner of Police
( Retired )
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