Police Commissioner Welcomes Move to Separate Police and Prisons

"The Prison looks after those who have been found guilty of breaking the law, and one of its core functions is to carry out rehabilitation programs for inmates.."

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Samoa Police and Prisons Commissioner, Auapaau Logoitino Filipo outside Parliament, Mon 26 July 2023.

Police Commissioner, Auapaau Logoitino Filipo, has welcomed the initiative to split the Ministry of Police from the Prisons and Rehabilitation Services.

“It puts Police in a good position to carry out their responsibilities, especially in the administration of fair justice.”

Auapaau explained, “Right now, the Police investigate charges, take the perpetrators to court, then when they’re sentenced we take them to prison upon Court orders, then look after them at the prisons and carry out rehabilitation programs for the prisoners..”

“A Police Officer’s duty is to enforce the law and take those who have broken the law to Court.”

“The Prison looks after those who have been found guilty of breaking the law, and it is a key responsibility to carry out rehabilitation programs for those being held there.”

Commissioner Auapaau says there is increased transparency with the separation of duties and responsibilities.

The estimated cost of splitting the Police and Prisons into two separate entities is $2 million Samoan Tala, says the Police Commissioner.

Costs will include resourcing the separation, for both assets and human resources.

The Prisons and Rehabilitation Services was separated from the Ministry of Police as part of Government reforms, however, in March 2020 a mass prison break triggered a decision by Parliament to remerge the two organizations.

On Monday 23rd March 2020, 36 prisoners from the high-risk Cell Room 1 at Tanumalala prison escaped after a riot broke out.

According to Auapaau, consultations have begun with the Ministry of Finance to assess the financial elements of the separation and move the project forward.

It is planned that the separation is completed by January 2025.