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Thursday 14 December 2017
Crime and Court

PCA recommends criminal charges

David West

The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has completed its investigation into the day of “Total Policing” which took place on March 23, 2015, and has recommended that criminal charges be laid against some police officers.

In a release sent yesterday, the PCA, led by David West, said it had concluded its independent investigations into the road exercises undertaken by officers of the TT Police Service on March 23, 2015, and had made a suite of 21 recommendations.

The recommendations were sent to the DPP and the Acting Commissioner of Police and the Police Service Commission.

During the PCA investigation it recorded over one hundred and fifty statements from police officers and civilians and scrutinised hundreds of related documents.

According to the PCA release, the investigation revealed that, “There was a lack of proper supervision of junior officers by superiors which resulted in three hundred and forty-one (341) officers across Trinidad and Tobago conducting 29 roadblocks/ road exercises without the knowledge of their superior officers.”

The PCA also found that, although no direct evidence was found to indicate that senior officers were alerted to plans by the junior officers to conduct these road exercises, given the amount of planning, coordination and precise execution required for their staging, it was difficult to believe that no senior officer was, in fact, made aware of the plans.

The PCA also found that the activities of the TT Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) up to and including the incident were a cause for concern. According to the PCA it found that there was evidentiary support for consideration of criminal and disciplinary action to be taken against some police officers who would have participated in the exercise.

In it’s a summary the PCA recommended:

1. The strengthening of the management/ supervisory infrastructure within the police service.

2. The restructuring of the Special Branch and the country’s intelligence gathering capabilities to be more in line with global security demands/ requirements.

3. That the relationship between the TTPSSWA and the Police Service be examined.

4. That consideration be given for the institution of criminal and / or disciplinary action against some police officers, based on their conduct in the events of and surrounding March 23, 2015.

On the day of “Total policing,” 29 roadblocks were carried out without the knowledge of the Commissioner of Police.

This prompted an investigation by the Police Service, the Joint Select Committee of Parliament and the Police Complaints Authority. Contacted yesterday, President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Acting ASP Michael Seales said the association would respond in due course but found it curious that the PCA would release such an “innuendo” without considering that members of the association would be aspiring to fill the positions of Commissioner and deputy commissioners of Police. He added that the release might be calculated to injure the chances of the candidacy of the people concerned.

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