25 Oct 2007

Samoa Government maintains controls on police access to guns in emergencies

8:08 pm on 25 October 2007

Samoa's Prime Minister says public concern led parliament to decide against amending police powers on the carrying of firearms.

Currently, the Police Minister has the sole power to authorise the carrying of guns by officers during emergencies.

The Police Powers Bill had proposed that the Police Commissioner have the same authority but Tuilaepa Sailele says parliament has chosen to stay with the status quo.

"Under the new amendment that was removed and went back to the old act was that instead of the commissioner asking the minister, that he may exercise his discretion. [But] the committee of the house decided that many people that came to witness felt very uncomfortable with that discretionary power."

Tuilaepa Sailele.

The MPs did confirm that only Cabinet had the authority to import guns - a power that had previously been with the police commissioner.

They also agreed that breathalysers would be introduced to test for drink-driving offences.