SOME 17 complaints of alleged police misconduct were sent by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for possible prosecution, PCA head David West told a PCA outreach meeting at Arima Town Hall last Thursday night.
Also at the head table were PCA deputy head Michelle Solomon-Baksh and Arima MP, Education Minister Anthony Garcia, while in the audience was local councillor Cagney Casimire.
For the year 2016 to 2017, West added that the PCA similarly sent 80 public complaints about the police to the Commissioner of Police (CoP) for action. However the vast majority of complaints initially lodged with the PCA, some 732 cases, did not proceed past the PCA but ended in “no further action”, West said.
He gave figures showing a similar trend in prior years. In 2014 to 2015, the PCA sent some 10 cases to the DPP, 42 to the CoP and 179 ended in no further action. Likewise in 2015 to 2016, seven cases went to the DPP, 28 to the CoP and 299 ended in no further action.
West said in many cases the complainant does not wish to continue with the matter and it is closed. He said complaints involving disciplinary matters are sent to the CoP, while criminals matters go to the DPP. West listed the main complaints against the police as “discreditable conduct”, “neglect of duty” (typically not investigating people’s reports) and misbehaviour in public office. The meeting heard a litany of cases, largely underlined by complainants feeling a sense of alienation from the system of criminal justice. One women complained of feeling lost when visiting Arima Magistrates Court. Another recalled of having no money to pay an attorney to seek justice for her son in trouble with the police, and when West suggested she seek Legal Aid she said even her modest earnings were deemed too high for her to qualify for legal aid.