Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020. 11:23 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Commissioner of the Belize Police Department (BPD), Chester Williams, has sent a video message to all officers of the Department on the occasion of the national State of Emergency due to COVID-19.
The Police, he reminded, is responsible for enforcing the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, social distancing laws, and other regulations.
Regarding the curfew period, police have no exceptions for any person caught outside unless they are authorized essential workers, in emergencies, or for medical purposes, each of whom can be granted a pass.
Police have discretion in these cases, he said but limited to those who can prove the reason they are out.
In the non-curfew period, Police are expected to maintain the peace, and so, Williams said, his officers are asked with respect and humility to inquire and ensure that individuals are maintaining movement with a purpose and are heeding social distancing regulations both inside and outside – a limited number inside and 3 to 6 feet outside.
And if police have to arrest anyone, they will be immediately processed and granted bail.
Among police themselves, social distancing is limited inside police stations and in vehicles limited to four officers. Officers have been issued personal protective equipment (PPE) and the Police Training Academy in Belmopan is open for any officer who believes they have been infected, including quarters and food.
“These are being done with a view to [ensuring] that the welfare and safety of officers and their families are always at the forefront of what we do. Together, as one Department, working in tandem with the other security forces, we can fight this pandemic. We know this task is going to be difficult; we understand the strain it is going to put on you and your families; we understand that there will be challenges from the public. But in light of all of those, we must maintain professionalism at all times. We must always ensure that we treat people with respect. Approach every situation and deal with every situation in the most professional way you know how,” Commissioner Williams concluded.
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