Cops want $1-million fine for refusing search

January 14, 2021

Persons who resist a search from a member of the security forces in a zone of special operations (ZOSO) could be subjected to stiff penalties in a court, if Parliament agrees with a recommendation from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The maximum penalty being proposed for preventing or attempting to prevent a search by a member of the Joint Force is $1 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

Under the law, a member of the Joint Force may search any place, vehicle or person within a ZOSO without a warrant, where the member has reasonable suspicion that an offence is in the course of being committed or has been committed or is about to be committed. The JCF said that there is no consequence if a person prevents or attempts to prevent a member of the Joint Force from exercising this power of search.

"While the offence of obstructing or resisting a constable in Section 30 of the Constabulary Force Act can be utilised in circumstances where a person prevents or attempts to prevent a member of the Joint Force who is a constable from exercising this power of search, it cannot be utilised in circumstances where a person prevents or attempts to prevent a member of the Joint Force who is a member of the Jamaica Defence Force from exercising the power of search," the JCF said in a submission to Parliament yesterday.

The police said that the penalty being proposed would provide a sufficient deterrent.

Under the Constabulary Force Act, the offence of obstructing or resisting a constable attracts a fine of up to $1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

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