The Maldives Police Service has issued an apology for how its officers handled a British tourist arrested for “indecent exposure” at a public beach after video of the incident was shared on social media. The woman in the video accused the officers of "sexually assaulting" her during the arrest.
Cecilia Jastrzembska, who has appeared reportedly on reality show “First Dates” and game show “Ninja Warrior UK,” was vacationing on Maafushi island Thursday when she was arrested by three officers for wearing a bikini. According to a press release from the police service, others on the beach complained about the woman being “inappropriately clad.”
Warning: Video contains graphic language.
The video shows Jastrzembska resisting arrest while three officers attempt to handcuff her arms behind her back. Another man is seen offering a sarong to cover the woman.
“You are sexually assaulting me,” she is heard repeatedly screaming at the officers while she struggles against them.
According to the press release, the three officers allegedly approached Jastrzembska and requested “her to comply with the local regulations,” but she refused and was then detained, authorities claim.
However, since the video was circulated widely on social media, the officers received backlash for how they treated Jastrzembska, who was alleged to have been inebriated at the time.
“I apologize to the tourist & the public for this. The challenge I have taken up is to professionalize the police service & we are working on that,” Commissioner Mohamed Hameed wrote on Twitter.
In the statement shared on Twitter, authorities begin by saying “tourists, on local islands are requested to respect the community’s cultural sensitives and local regulations by restricting the wearing of swimwear to certain areas of the island,” before apologizing for the “regretful manner in which this incident took place.”
The police service is reportedly launching a full investigation into the incident to ensure that “disproportionate measures” are not repeated.
Jastrzembska was released later that day without charges.
The Maldives is an Islamic nation in the Indian Ocean. Though popular with tourists for its beaches, visitors are asked to dress modestly outside of resorts “as a sign of respect to the community.” On the island of Maafushi, only private tourist beaches allow bikinis. Maldivian law does not permit the swimwear on other beaches.