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Law enforcement authorities may axe hooded sweaters

Law enforcement authorities may axe hooded sweaters


Hooded sweaters may soon join the list of items that cannot be worn here by members of the public, or imported into St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Michael Charles, Commissioner of Police (Ag), said that law enforcement authorities are seriously thinking about banning the importation or use of this type of clothing here, because of the association of that type of clothing, commonly referred to as “hoodies,” with crimes that are being committed.

“And it’s unfortunate, because some people genuinely use them because it is cold and they want to use them, but generally they are being used by other persons for other means,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

“Because of a few bad eggs, general people will have to suffer — so we are making the requisite recommendations in respect of hoodies,” he said.

In 2007, a joint operation by the Customs and Police Departments rid shelves and countertops of local business places of items made from camouflage fabric.

It was noted then, by Assistant Commissioner of Police Lenroy Brewster, that there had been reports of persons dressing in camouflage apparel and impersonating police officers.

Under the import and export regulations of SVG, the importation of any military style camouflage material or uniform is prohibited. Charles reiterated this point, saying that most often, people think the restriction refers to the green camouflage apparel only. But the Commissioner of Police (Ag) said that the ban refers to all types of camouflage clothing, including those often worn in desert combat.

Charles also reminded traders of goods about the restrictions placed on the importation of masks and toy guns which resemble real firearms. In relation to masks, Charles said that a number of crimes are being committed by persons who disguise their appearance.

He explained that the importation of masks is a controlled process, which requires the trader to make an application through the Customs department and the Commissioner of Police.

It has become the norm for persons to host Halloween parties during the month of October, and according to Charles, once the trader or host imports restricted items, these items are held by the police until the day of the event. After the event, the items must be returned to the police for them to be destroyed.

In relation to toy guns, Charles said that the restriction on the importation of toys resembling real firearms came about after concern was raised about the number of persons walking around with fake weapons and using them to commit robberies.

Grenville John, comptroller of the Customs and Excise Department, said that the importation of items such as water guns, for example, requires traders to obtain a license before doing so. The agency authorizing the importation of the items will require a detailed description of the items, he said. The Comptroller, however, said that multi-coloured water guns may be allowed.

“But there are some that resemble the real firearm that you may not be able to differentiate whether it is a toy or a real firearm,” he said.

“Those will not be allowed.”

According to the comptroller of Customs, the trader making the application could bring in to the Customs a catalogue which specifies the merchandise they intend to import.