§ Mr. Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that, under Section 17 of the Jamaica Constabulary Law, a policeman can arrest a person for any offence, that this provision is frequently abused by the police, and that persons are frequently arrested and jailed for minor breaches of the traffic laws; and whether he will take steps to secure the amendment of this provision.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I assume the hon. Member is referring to Section 18 of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Law, which empowers a constable to arrest without warrant any person found committing any offence punishable upon indictment or summary conviction and take him forthwith before a justice for inquiry into the circumstances of the alleged offence. I do not accept that this power has been frequently abused. There are safeguards 133W against abuse in particular, under Section 39 of the Law a constable who exercises the power maliciously or without reasonable or probable cause is liable to civil action for damages and for false imprisonment. Amendment of the Law is a matter for the Jamaica Government, and I can see no sufficient reason to intervene.