Police apologise over ticket issue

Police yesterday publicly apologised to a woman who claimed she and her young family were ‘terrorised’ when police came to their West Bay home late at night to arrest her.

Emilia Tibbetts alleged that police – who she claimed were armed – had turned up at her home in Finch Drive at 11.15pm on a Sunday night to arrest her for not paying a $20 ticket for failing to display her road licence.

RCIP Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis yesterday said he had immediately ordered a full investigation into the incident and now had the completed file on it.

The investigation showed that a total of four officers were at the scene – two from the process department, responsible for serving warrants, a special constable and a sergeant from West Bay – said Mr. Ennis.

The investigation also revealed that no firearms were involved, said Mr. Ennis.

Under no circumstances were firearms issued to officers not authorised to carry them. None of the officers in this incident was authorised, he said.

The officers were dressed in bullet-proof and stab-proof vests – which was routine – and did have expandable batons which were carried in holsters, said Mr. Ennis.

He said he was satisfied, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no firearms were involved in the incident which, he stressed, was not part of Operation Octopus.

What was not reasonable, said Mr. Ennis, was for police to go to the house at 11.15 at night over a traffic ticket.

It was not appropriate, said Mr. Ennis, and he apologised to the family and community.

He asked the public, on whose confidence and support the RCIP relied, not to judge the police by this one single incident.

New guidelines about the issue of warrants had been issued, said Mr. Ennis.

He did not want officers turning up at people’s workplaces to execute warrants. The whole thing was not about trying to embarrass or humiliate people, he said.

The police had to be courteous and professional but firm, he added.