[OPINIONS]:::Going after rogue cops

No. 133 Friday, August 27, 2010
By Robert Dailey
The Bruce Golding led administration has finally established the Independent Commission of Police Investigations which was long overdue frankly speaking. Former Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions in Jamaica and Attorney- at-law Mr. Terrence F. Williams was officially sworn in as Commissioner of the newly formed Independent Commission of Investigations by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen on Thursday, July 29, 2010.

   The newly appointed Commissioner, however, pointed out that he will shortly have some consultative discussions with the leadership of the police operated Bureau of Special Investigations in order to determine how the Independent Commission of Investigations (I.C.I.) will interact with the B.S.I. .Said Mr. Williams, “But what is clear is that our agency (I.C.I.) has the power to take over and direct their investigations.” Under the I.C.I.’s Act the Commission is legally entitled to take charge of and preserve the scene of any incident.
    The I.C.I. has been allocated a start up budget of $200 million, however, is currently lacking a staff complement of investigators which are required to start investigating police abuses and mis-conduct against citizens of the country. It is of fundamental importance that the government ensures that the required amount of investigators are employed and assigned full time to the I.C.F. in the shortest possible time because we need to have the Commission up and running. Over the past ten years over 2000 persons were shot and killed by the police most of them under extremely controversial circumstances and none of them properly investigated by those numerous police authorities.
    Mr. Terrence Williams must always ensure that the I.C.F. operates in an open and accountable manner and that the public receives monthly updates regarding cases that the Commission is investigating. We the public are firmly depending on him to fearlessly make it a distinct priority of his to investigate the many allegations against the security forces in a professional, meticulous and speedy manner serving at all times the interests of justice for the citizens of this country. The cardinal duty and responsibility of the Commission is to methodically search for the facts whenever it is alleged that members of the State have corruptly carried out their duties and have abused the citizen’s constitutional rights.
    The Police High Command has reported that between January 1 through to July 30, 2010 some 149 corrupt police officers have been dismissed from the Jamaica Constabulary Force for various corrupt acts over the period. According to Head of the Police’s elite and highly vetted Anti-Corruption Branch, Assistant Commissioner Justin Felice 105 police officers were prevented from re-enlisting at the conclusion of their official term contracts, some 26 were specifically retired directly in the public interest while simultaneously another 18 were dismissed for reckless abuse of power and other nefarious conduct. Also, since the commencement of the year, twenty one police officers have been formally arrested and charged for several breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act. Another 36 police officers were charged with other corruption and departmental charges since January 2010 as was reported in the Western Mirror newspaper of August 11, 2010 while 10 civilians were criminally charged for bribing police officers relating to several offences.
    According to media reports, the Commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations (I.C.F.) Mr. Terrence Williams will have a heavy workload of cases to probe when the independent commission starts operating as at August 16, 2010. The Commission will have to meticulously and officially investigate 1,000 cases stemming from the huge back-log of cases that currently exist at the police’s Bureau of Special Investigations (B.S.I.) In fact, close to half the fatal police shootings that are being investigated by the B.S.L will be taken over by the I.C.I. According to the law which established the I.C.I., the Commission will also supervise the B.S.I. and its various investigations.
    The Buckfleld Police killing of Mr. Ian Lloyd from the parish of St. Ann in full view of residents from the area and parish of St. Ann in full view of residents from the area and broadcast on television is in and of itself despicable, outrageous and disgraceful and I must state here a tremendous indictment on Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington and the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The conduct, actions and performance of members of the police force ultimately reflects on the performance of the police chief and he has to accept collective responsibility for the officers of the force. What I viewed in television relating to the alleged murder of Mr. Ian Lloyd by a police officer is profoundly shameful and this situation occurs quite regularly all across the country with impunity. It is only because the police killing was recorded and published on a television newscast in full view of the nation why the policeman concerned has been arrested and charged for murder and will have his day in court on the charged offence. However, the police Sergeant Lloyd Kelly is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law
    Generally speaking, for far too long the police have been allowed to murder persons and get away scotch free. The police fatal shooting figure for the period 2000-2010 amounts to over 1,000 persons being killed by the police most of them under severe controversial circumstances and further the majority of them are never properly, fairly and professionally investigated because we have a manifestly corrupt unprofessional and abusive police force which is out of control. I do hope that the recently established I.C.I. under the leadership of Terrence Williams will consistently ensure that all fatal police shootings are thoroughly investigated by the Commission and those police officers involved in those shootings will be prosecuted and face the full legal force of the law and receive long prison sentences for their crimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment