27 Jun 2006

Fiji considers new powers for police to combat soaring crime

6:49 pm on 27 June 2006

Laws allowing police to tap telephones and prison sentences of up to 20 years are among powers being proposed in Fiji to help fight soaring crime.

Fiji TV reports that other measures being considered by the Fiji Law Reform Commission are the DNA testing of suspects and the freezing of bank accounts.

Police currently need a warrant from a High Court judge to intercept telephone calls but under the changes being considered they will be able to listen to telephone calls at their own discretion if the situation warrants.

Sharply increased prison sentences have been proposed with their length going up by up to three times for certain offences.

A maximum prison term of 17 years is being proposed for aggravated burglary while aggravated robbery could land a man behind bars for up to 20 years.

The chairman of the Law Reform Commission, Alipate Qetaki, says they will obtain feedback from stakeholders in the next few weeks before firm recommendations are put forward.