Police give stern warning to criminals amid coronavirus pandemic
Acting Police Commissioner Milton Desir has sent out a stern warning to criminals who may decide to take advantage of coronavirus anxiety.
According to the top cop, criminality will not be tolerated in any form or manner.
“As much as we have police policing COVID-19, we also have our police officers that will be at the criminals and to ensure that acts of criminality will not be tolerated, persons will be penalized, persons will be brought in if any acts of criminality are suspected,” Desir declared.
The senior police officer made the disclosure during a press conference Wednesday, where the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) highlighted its plans in dealing with the pandemic.
This included a ban on all gatherings of more than ten people, effective Friday, March 20, 2020.
These include all religious activities such as funerals, weddings and normal church service.
According to Desir, this is in keeping with measures to slow down the spread of the virus by limiting social interaction. Initially, "mass crowd" was defined as an assembly of 50 or more people, however, due to the current global coronavirus pandemic, the designation ‘mass crowd’ is now being applied to an assembly of 10.
“For the purpose of COVID-19 we are saying that 50 is still a lot, especially since some events are taking place in small places, so we have decided that at least ten persons would be considered a mass crowd.”
Bar owners were urged by the commissioner to play their part and be more responsible in addressing the COVID-19 situation.
“The onus would be on the operators of those bars to ensure that no more than 10 individuals are in those bars and I know there are bars that have very little space, even that too they can control, but the aim is that persons don’t have contact with persons in that shared space and this is what we are working towards,” he said.
He also disclosed that the police would assist in returning persons who escape quarantine.
“At most of those exercises, there would be representatives of the Ministry of Health so we would assist them in returning those persons back to the place of quarantine.”
He went on to explain, “That the officers have received training and continue to receive training, especially in using personal protective equipment including bodysuits.”