The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has sought to clarify the more controversial aspects of the preventative detention measure being proposed by the government.
The Office of the DPP has explained that the term simply represents the power already available to the police to make arrests under certain conditions.
The use of preventative detention by the police is among the measures announced last week by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to help tackle the country’s crime problem. It will allow the police to detain people who are suspected to be about to commit an offence.
In a release, the DPP stated that the phrase preventative detention is merely descriptive of the powers of a police constable, and is interchangeable with the phrase preventative arrest.
The DPP reiterated that the police do have the power to arrest persons without warrants when they reasonably suspect that an offence is about to be committed, or has been committed.
According to the DPP, when making these arrests, the police must follow the Constitution and inform the persons of the reasons for their arrest. In addition, if a person is not charged within 24 hours that person must be brought before a Parish Judge or a Justice of the Peace.
The DPP concluded that the power to arrest must be exercised for a proper purpose, and where this is not done, it becomes unlawful and the police become liable for claims for False Imprisonment.