Village bylaws exception

POLICE and security agencies can bypass village bylaws to enter a traditional village setting.

While speaking at a village bylaw consultation at Dratabu Village in Nadi yesterday, retired magistrate Aminiasi Katonivualiku said police officers could enter villages with a search warrant or an order to arrest a crime suspect.

“If they have a search warrant issued by the court then they have every right to enter a village, a home in a village and execute the warrant,” he said.

“They are doing their work as police officers which is why they do not come under the village bylaws.”

He said one of the concerns raised was the manner in which some of the arrests were carried out.

“Some of the submissions we’ve had was how some villagers are not treated with respect.

“They are abused and are treated inhumanely.

“In that respect, a family member or a witness can report the matter to police because that is in itself a violation of a human’s rights.”

He said police officers should not use force when arresting a suspect and that they should exercise reasonable force.

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