In the aftermath of a viral incident involving the police and members of the public at Hospital Road, Castries, the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) has issued a warning to citizens against obstructing officers performing their lawful duties.
Several video recordings of residents confronting the police have appeared on social media.
But the RSLPF has warned that obstructing the police is unlawful and dangerous.
According to Section 60 of the Police Act, whoever assaults, obstructs, or resists, or incites any other person to assault, obstruct or resist any police officer in the execution of his or her duty, is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
In a statement on Saturday, the police also observed that such acts not only embolden criminal elements but restrict the ability of the police to reduce violent crimes.
The complete statement appears below:
About 7:45 p.m. on Friday, January 27, 2023, having received information of persons brandishing firearms and possible assaults with said firearms (imminent gun/gang violence) at Hospital Road, Castries, a team of personnel from the Special Services Unit proceeded to the area.
Upon arrival, the officers observed the disorder and immediately attempted to quell the situation. Whilst doing so, a male proceeded to physically attempt to prevent the officers from conducting searches of suspected persons; that individual assaulted a police officer and was detained by other officers present.
A crowd gathered and persons therein repeatedly grabbed the male suspect, as well as police personnel, in an effort to free the male from lawful custody. Missiles were also thrown at the officers and the police vehicle, which was parked nearby. The team of officers, eventually left the area with the male suspect, who remains in custody in relation to charges of Obstruction, Assault, Resisting Arrest, Use of Obscene Language and Damage to Property.
The actions of the male who is currently in custody and other persons within the crowd, obstructed the police in the execution of their lawful duties. Their actions were deliberate attempts to prevent the officers from finding and seizing illegal guns from persons who were in the area.
It is unlawful for anyone to obstruct the police during the execution of their sworn duty to protect citizens, and maintain law and order. It is also dangerous for persons who engage in such illegal behavior as the police are authorized in law to use deadly force if the situation demands it. It is impossible to achieve our crime reduction mandate without public cooperation.
Such acts not only embolden criminal elements but restrict the ability of the police to reduce violent crimes.
The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force continues to warn persons not to interfere, challenge or interrupt the police when they are performing their duties.