Police enforce SoE regulations

Major Nicholson Ben, Acting Commander VMF and Commander VPF COVID19 Operations

The Vanuatu Police Force is already enforcing regulations of the COVID-19 State of Emergency (SoE) that was officially declared by the Head of State on Thursday.

All business houses and public transports must stop their services by 7.30pm and all Fuel Stations around town should cease operations at 9pm, as per the SoE curfew.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday afternoon, Acting Commander VMF, Major Nicholson Ben, who is also the Commander VPF Covid-19 Operations said officers will be patrolling the areas to ensure businesses concerned comply with the SoE restrictions.

Activities that VPF is executing also includes awareness on the SoE parameters and erection of road blocks in areas around Port Vila, Luganville and other islands, if necessary.

Police is reminding public to avoid being part of large crowds in places such as kava bars and restaurants.

“Force members will not execute this task lightly and will deal with those that fail to comply with the order,” the VPF Covid-19 Operations boss warned.

Police will monitor timings. Business houses and public transport drivers that are caught continuing with their commercial activities will be asked to stop and close their activities. Those that resist the order will be arrested.

Groupings of with more than five people on the streets will be asked to disperse.

Major Ben is also appealing to all social media users to be mindful of the information that are being disseminated on social media, particularly, on Facebook.

“People must stop putting out misleading information on Facebook, especially, with regards to the role of police, as it would confuse others and cause panic as well as undermine the work of VPF.”

He added, “Police is considering this as a serious issue and will investigate posts that are fake and misleading.”

During the COVID-19 operations, the enforcement officers will also be enforcing other laws such as drunk and drive.

Major Ben explained that VPF will be focusing all its resources towards the SoE within the two weeks’ timeframe.

“Given that, VPF is suspending some of its services. These includes fire arms, police clearance, engineering community projects and band performances.”

Business houses and public transportation curfew is effective from 9pm until 4am the following day.

Superintendent James Toka Aru, the National Coordinator of Community Policing and Crime Prevention and Acting Commander South, Superintendent Allanrow Bani joined Major Ben to call on the public at large to cooperate with police during the SoE period.

“We are only enforcing the SoE for the sake of ensuring that Vanuatu is safe and healthy. We are also encouraging everyone to listen and adhere to advises key messages of World Health Organization (WHO) and authorized institutions, to be on the safe side. Please respect the SoE order.”

VPF is expecting to utilize the full scale of its members during the operation, therefore, asked of support from everyone during this period.

Major Ben reiterated the mandate of VPF which is to promote peace to ensure safer and peaceful communities.

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