Tonga Police and His Majesty's Armed Forces officers during lockdown checkpoint. Photo/Tonga Police (Facebook)

Tonga Police have arrested 568 people to date since the Covid-19 lockdown, curfews and state of emergency announced on 28 March 2020.

Of the 568 arrested, 357 were arrested for breaches of the National Emergency Lockdown Notice/Restriction Notice and the obstruction of authorised officers, 77 were arrested for being drunk in public places, 33 for possession of illicit drugs, 28 on domestic violence charges and the rest on other crimes including assault, theft and housebreaking.

The total number marked a drop by 37% (-298 offences) compared with the number of crimes recorded in the same period last year, Police said.

“Our mission is to support the Government, to support our Ministry of Health in keeping our citizens well and safe. We do that by educating the people but when that approach falls on death ears, we will enforce the full extent of the law in this National Health Emergency,” said the Commissioner of Police Stephen Caldwell.

“We urged people to respect the law, respect our officers as they go about their duty. This is a difficult time, but we need the public to follow instructions and comply with directions. People need to stay home during the curfew hours.

“There may be difficult times ahead, and we must steel ourselves to the task ahead and work together.

“Our Role as always is to uphold the rule of law, keep the peace, protect our citizens, and do our duty to King and Country to the best of our ability.”

Police are working together with His Majesty’s Armed Forces and the Tonga Fire & Emergency Services to enforce the curfew.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action on those who continue to ignore the curfew.”

You can contact the Police Operation Centre on 23713 or email opcc.covid19@police.gov.to, to report a crime or anyone who is breaching the curfew hours.

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