The Minister of Police, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has commended the Police for their hard work during the Festive Season.
Statistics released by the Police show that their roadblocks caught 873 incidents of drunk driving, careless driving. They also had to deal with a murder case and two manslaughters.
Tuilaepa said the report shows how hard the police have been working during the holidays, commending their service for saving lives and defending against potential accidents.
“The positive side is that the Police needs to be commended for the vigilance and the time taken to lay out their roadblocks and also to proceed with the arrests as reported,” he said.
“I have been very, very happy with the performance of the Police.”
The festive season is a time of heavy drinking, said Tuilaepa, and a great number of visitors from overseas compound that.
Relatives or guests from abroad where liquor laws are stringent may not expect Samoa’s Police to be vigilant, and so they get caught quickly, he said.
“Probably alcohol drinkers thought that Samoa was a paradise to move around freely in, only to find out that police were especially watchful of these incidents during the festivities. I have been very, very happy with their performance.”
But Tuilaepa did not shy away from suggesting Samoa could relook at its liquor laws to address the high rates of drinking related incidents. Opening hours were top of his list, as well as teaching people to drink responsibly.
“Perhaps we should look at our liquor laws, especially opening hours,” he said.
“It is an assumption on the part of the Liquor Board that people are educated drinkers. That is not the case with the huge number of those that have been charged for drunkenness.”