Police officers direct traffic during the three-day shopping period in April. During the curfew, police have been granted discretion to decide who to arrest for breach of curfew and who to let go with warnings. (File Photo: CLAIRE SHEFCHIK)

Police have caught at least 153 people breaking the curfew since it was first imposed by government on March 27 to restrict residents’ movements and stymy the spread of Covid-19 in the territory, according to statistics provided by Police Information Officer Akia Thomas.

Of these 153, 25 were arrested, 78 were “reported” to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and 50 were given warnings, according to the police statistics.

The DPP will review the case files for the 78 “reported” individuals and decide whether or not to prosecute them, according to Police Commissioner Michael Matthews.

Press releases

Ms. Thomas issued a March 27 press release announcing the first arrest for breaching the pandemic curfew, but after that she decided to forego issuing releases for individuals charged with the crime “because the amount was overwhelming,” she said.

The offenders also were excluded from arrest blotters issued recently unless they were charged with additional crimes besides breach of curfew.

Ms. Thomas also has issued press releases about some people arrested for breach of curfew along with other offences, she said.

The information officer explained that she releases statistics about curfew arrests if a media house inquires, but “we will not be releasing the names and information for persons breaching the curfew.”

In their weekly arrest blotters, police typically include names and other information about perpetrators of a range of crimes, from traffic infractions to drug possession to theft and burglary.

Though these blotters are typically issued every week, police did not release any between March 10 and May 13.

Ms. Thomas did not respond to questions about why arrest information was withheld during that period.

During an April 13 interview with the Beacon, Mr. Matthews said that the legal procedures for someone arrested for breach of curfew are the same as someone arrested for other offences.

“We have to operate within what the law lays down in terms of proceedings, so obviously their rights, their access to a solicitor, those rights are all exactly the same,” Mr. Matthews said.