Profiling – it’s not permitted in the law – but police do it all the time. They stop persons, conduct routine searches and then snap their pictures with cell phone cameras. It’s done widely in Belize City – especially to young, black males.
Cabinet has said the cops shouldn’t do it, but that hasn’t stopped them. And, in fact the COMPOL has indicated that the practice will continue. Police use these pictures to make databases of persons who haven’t even committed crimes.
On Wednesday, the attorney general told the media that the police can continue until someone sues them – which any profiled citizen would be well within their rights to do:
Hon. Michael Peyrefitte – Attorney General
“If he believes that there is no law that prevents him from doing that and if he believes that is the best way to fight crime then he would proceed.
Then if someone wants to challenge him, anyone has access to the court to challenge him.
All I know is that within the law, our law does not allow for profiling doesn’t allow for detention except if it is a case of emergency.
It does not allow for pictures to be taken of a person, information to be taken from a person if that person is not arrested and charged.
If you decide to charge an individual then the law states clearly that that individual is to be finger printed and photos to be taken.
It doesn’t make any provision that you are allowed to do that before a person is charged.
The Commissioner can easily say well there isn’t any provision that says you can’t do that. So maybe that is the procedure he is following.
I would think that the police do not have the power to simply stop any and everybody they want for no reason whatsoever and take their picture.”