24 Aug 2010

American Samoa police want stop order policy changed

12:23 pm on 24 August 2010

Police in American Samoa are calling for the Attorney General's Office to reconsider its policy of not issuing stop orders for suspects who are US nationals or US citizens.

Concerns have been raised after a special education teacher, who was under investigation for rape, left the territory before he could be arrested.

The suspect is now thought to be in Australia.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says people feel the risk of it happening again is high, with several flights to nearby Samoa leaving the island daily.

She says police are particularly concerned about how it could affect their work.

"We've had two cases where suspects of alleged rape have just left the island, and it certainly is going to be a problem, a hurdle, in prosecution of not just these types of cases but others, where a crime has been committed."

Monica Miller says the Attorney General's Office changed its policy on issuing stop orders for holders of US passports last year.