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Parliament Passes Bill To Protect Our Police Officers

The Crimes Amendment Bill which was tabled by the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament on Tuesday was passed and enacted last night. 28 Members of Parliament voted in favour of
16 Mar 2018 10:00
Parliament Passes Bill To Protect Our Police Officers
The officers of the Police Special Response Unit during a demonstration for the Chinese Ministry of Public Security delegation at Police Mobile in Makoi on July 23, 2015. Photo: Rama

The Crimes Amendment Bill which was tabled by the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament on Tuesday was passed and enacted last night.

28 Members of Parliament voted in favour of the Bill, nine voted against and 13 abstained.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bill sought to amend the Crimes Act in respect of offences against Police officers.

The Bill proposed to increase the maximum penalty of assaulting a Police officer from five years imprisonment to 10 years.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the current Act failed to provide sufficient deterrence against actions which not only hinder the enforcement of the law but also endangered the lives of the men and women in the Police force as they carried out their duties.

He said there had been an increase of offences and assaults against Police officers in recent times.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was imperative that the Fijian jurisdiction treated the offence with the severity it deserved, amend the Act and increase the penalty for the offence of assaulting a Police officer.

NFP leader Biman Prasad supported the Bill and said threatening to assault a police officer was a serious offence and a challenge to the authority represented by the uniform.

He said there was no doubt policemen and policewomen had been assaulted in the past, and a 10-year imprisonment sentence was sufficient.

“However, we also need to ensure that ordinary citizens who fall victims to Police brutality, must be treated the same way officers are treated and harsher penalties are also enforced,” Mr Prasad said.

However, SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu said the party did not support the Bill and that the current imprisonment sentence was sufficient.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said times had changed, different values and laws needed to change with time.

He said this was not a controversial approach and Police brutality and Police offences were a separate issue and the current Bill was different.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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