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Plumbing issues close one of two police cells

Tuesday May 01, 2018 Written by Published in Crime
Police Cell 2 at Cook Islands Police headquarters is currently out of order due to plumbing issues. Police Cell 2 at Cook Islands Police headquarters is currently out of order due to plumbing issues.

The closure of one of the two police cells at Cook Islands Police headquarters last Thursday has meant a number of offenders have had to share the only remaining cell since then.

Having only one cell available also meant a woman arrested on a drink-driving charge in the early hours of Friday morning avoided being detained, due to the only working cell being occupied by two male offenders.

The woman tested over two and a half times the legal limit for alcohol after being breathalysed by police following an incident in which the vehicle she was driving crashed into the side of a parked bus near an Avarua nightclub. The woman was reportedly prevented from driving any further by security personnel.

After her arrest she was processed and bailed to appear in court this coming Thursday.

According to police spokesman Trevor Pitt, the out-of-order cell “has been rendered unusable thanks to continued pressures on the facility’s plumbing system, and most likely the system’s design deficiencies”.

“The good news for offenders is that Police Cell 1 is still available and adequate for sharing,” he added.

And share they did, with three men having been locked up in the cell together come Friday morning.

The first offender was arrested Thursday afternoon on a drug-related charge. He later appeared in the Avarua High Court on Friday and was remanded into custody until May 10.

A second man was then located and arrested by police after being wanted for contempt of court. The man was already facing charges related to burglary as well and after appearing in court on Friday he was bailed at large with conditions until May 10.

The third visitor to Police Cell 1 was a tourist who was arrested early on Friday morning for attempting to steal a motorbike. He was reported to be intoxicated at the time.

The man appeared in court on Friday to answer a charge of attempted unlawful taking and the matter was adjourned until April 30 with no plea taken.

His passport was surrendered and he was ordered to abide by bail conditions.

Three further arrests on Friday also kept Police Cell 1 occupied by offenders awaiting court appearances.

Another man was arrested on a drug-related charge, a second man was arrested for being in breach of curfew orders by the court, and the third arrest was of a man involved in a motorcycle crash at Nikao. This man was processed and bailed due to injuries sustained in the accident, while the other two offenders remained in lock-up.

Regarding when Police Cell 2 might once again be operational, police spokesman Pitt said that a request for repairs had been lodged with the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, which is responsible for managing Crown assets, but added that “there has been no attention as yet”.

Pitt went on to say that having only one operable holding cell at the police station “is totally inadequate” and that heavy use of Police Cell 1 could put that facility at risk also.

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