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Clarification To Police Photograph-ing Directive Issued

Clarification To Police Photograph-ing Directive Issued
December 28
18:08 2019

ComPol Clarifies…
The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams has clarified a document that was circulated and then redistributed after a correction was made. The document gives specific instruction that photographs of passengers and vehicles must be taken and forwarded to the Police Whatsapp groups and it raised the concern of many who questioned the legality of such a decision as they see it as a violation of their right to privacy.

Commissioner Williams made the clarification on his Facebook page and offered a series of justifiable points why he made such a decision. The following is his post on the matter in full:

“For the avoidance of any doubt, let me make it clear that the message being circulated in the media regarding new measures to be implemented at our checkpoints, I’d like to state that the one currently circulating does not reflect the true directive and was quickly corrected with a second message.
The purpose of that message is as follows-
1. To target those criminals moving persons from District to District and then kill and dispose of their bodies;
2. To curtail the free movements of transient criminals on our highways;
3. To reduce the frequency of fatal accidents resulting from drunk driving; and
4. To deter or apprehend those persons using our highways to commit crime.

As is stated in the revised message, the measures are not intended to target everyone as there is no way that the police can search all vehicles travelling on our highways. We are fully aware of the urgency with which some of us use the Highways and we in no way intend on causing any inconvenience to our law abiding citizens especially those that commute daily to work.

Whatever will be done will surely be targetting known and convicted criminals, and those that the police have reasonable cause to suspect that they are doing or carrying illegal goods on our highways.

System will also be put I’m place at each checkpoint to ensure that whenever the police will search a vehicle that such vehicle is pulled off the road and search so as not to obstruct the flow of traffic.

We see these measures necessary at this time to ensure the safety of those that uses the highways as well as to minimize the free movements of transient criminals. I therefore ask the support and corporate of all to ensure this works.”

An Observers Comment:
We Belizeans have all witnessed on the various news reports, the horrific increase in crime and the effects on our community ‘nation-wide’. The new effort by the top brass of the Belize Police Dept. is an attempt to mitigate crime in Belize, which is unusually high for our population. If the new actions by the Police Dept. violates the civil liberties of anyone it will be reviewed and amended by the cabinet and senate, but in the meantime we ought to not to be too quick to criticize these efforts.

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