Give fines, don’t fill cells, police told

Curfew breakers to cough up

22 July 2021 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE

WINDHOEK

Police officers have been encouraged to issue fines to Covid-19 regulation violators as a means to avoid overcrowding of police cells in a circular issued by Namibian Police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga.

He wrote that leeway had been given that an admission-of-guilt fine - not exceeding N$6 000 - could be given to violators.

“We are advised to continue issuing notices to appear in court (J534) in terms of section 56 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which further provides under subsection (1) c that accused may pay a stipulated fine in respect thereof without appearing in court,” the circular read.

The move is to avoid overloading the court system, Ndeitunga explained.

“It is this office’s considered view that adherence to this guidance will prevent congestion at police stations, overcrowding of police cells and will take pressure off the overloaded court system as it allows individuals to avoid going through the elaborate court process of a criminal trial for minor contraventions of the public health Covid-19 general regulations,” the police chief said.

Cells are full

Ndeitunga had recently lamented crowded police cells in an interview with Namibian Sun.

“The cells are full. Where are you going to put them? And you are also taking the virus to the cells. Cells are full - they are not even full, they are overcrowded! It’s unhealthy. Where are you going to put them?” he asked.

“People should just understand themselves and realise the danger caused by Covid-19 is real and imminent,” Ndeitunga said.