Sunday 5 April, 2020

Griffith: Loitering laws to be heavily enforced amid COVID-19 pandemic

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is advising citizens that cops will ramp up the enforcement of the country's loitering laws over the coming weeks in an attempt to keep people from assembling in large numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement on Wednesday, Griffith said this is being done in line with the request of Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Security Council, Dr Keith Rowley, that the public practises social distancing at this time.

On Monday, Dr Rowley had called on bars to be closed, restaurants to curtail their business operations and for citizens not to assemble in large numbers in an effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, the CoP said while a large section of the population has adhered to the request, he anticipates that few would refuse to comply. Still, he said he hopes there would be no need to enforce the laws relating to loitering and assured that over the coming weeks, the TTPS would increase its patrols across the country.

The police service will act in accordance with Section 45 (c) of the Summary Offences Act, Chapter 11:02 which states as follows:

IDLE AND DISORDERLY PERSONS

A person committing any of the offences mentioned below in this section may be deemed an idle and disorderly person, and shall be liable to a fine of two hundred dollars, or to imprisonment for one month—

(a) any person who, being able by labour or other lawful means to maintain himself or his wife or child, where such wife or child is without other means of support, refuses or neglects to do so

(b) any person wandering abroad or placing himself in any street to beg or gather alms, or causing or procuring or encouraging any child to do so

(c) any person found sleeping or loitering in or under any building, including any open outhouse, verandah, gallery, passage, or gateway, or in any vehicle or vessel, without leave of the owner, occupier or person in charge thereof, or on or under any wharf, quay, jetty, bridge, footway, or in any street or other public place, and not giving a good account of himself

(d) any person who, without leave of the owner or occupier, affixes any placard or notice upon any building, wall, pillar, post, or fence, or otherwise defaces the same;

(e) any person pretending or professing to tell fortunes

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