Citizens have power to arrest


ANY private person or civilian has the power to arrest anyone who commits a criminal offence.

This is according to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) National Crime Prevention Department (NCPD) during an awareness with the chiefs and community leaders of the Tandai House of Chiefs on Tuesday at Lela in Northwest Guadalcanal. 

Constable Joel Saumanu of NCPD said a private person or civilian can do arrest to a certain level and hand the suspect to the police.

He said this is called ‘Arrest by Private Person’ provided by law in Section 21 and 22 of the Solomon Islands Criminal Procedure Code.

Section 21 Clause (1) states: “Any private person may arrest any person who in his view commits a cognisable offence, or whim he reasonably suspects of having committed a felony provided a felony has been committed.”

Clause (2) states: “Persons found committing any offence involving injury to property may be arrested without a warrant by the owner of the property or his servants or persons authorised by him.”

Section 22, Clause (1) had it that, “Any private person arresting any other person without a warrant shall without unnecessary delay make over the person so arrested to a police officer, or in the absence of a police officer shall take such person to the nearest police station.

Clause (2) adds: “If there is reason to believe that such person comes under the provisions of section 18, a police officer shall re-arrest him.

Clause (3) furthers: “If there is reason to believe that he has committed a non-cognisable offence, and he refuses on the demand of a police officer to give his name and residence, or gives a name or residence which such officer has reason to believe to be false, he shall be dealt with under the provisions of section 19. If there is no sufficient reason to believe that he has committed any offence he shall be at once released.”

The Tandai House of Chiefs requested the RSIPF through NCPD to assist them in setting up the committees to fight crimes in the Tandai area.

The initiative attracted around 100 chiefs and leaders in the Tandai House of Chiefs, from Barana to Doma gathered at Lela in Northwest Guadalcanal on Tuesday to dialogue and establish their Crime Prevention Committees (CPC) to address crime and lawlessness in the area.

Speaking after the awareness meeting, NCPD Supervising Director, Inspector Steve Sunaone said citizens have legal reasons to carry out their work and become law enforcers in our nation.

Mr Sunaone said the Tandai leaders really have the strong desire to change their community.

“They request us to come and make awareness about Crime Prevention Committees, in particular to ensure that CPC is establish in their communities.

“Tandai area is close to the city, and it is not immune to lawlessness as well. It’s more like empower them to take ownership of their community while giving them certain approaches which is recognised under the crime prevention strategy to enforce law and order within the communities,” said Sunaone.

Paramount Chief of the Tandai House of Chiefs Francis Peroqolo on behalf of the Tandai House of Chiefs thanked the team from the NCPD, and told each of the representatives that attendant the workshop to return to their various zones to form their CPC and start implementing their community by-laws.

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