Opposition Senator Saddam Hosein says some police officers pick up boys from off the block and then, after they have been detained, look for evidence against them. “Far too often police pick up boys from the corner, put them in the station and then they decide to gather evidence against them. This is not how it is done.”
He made the claim during his contribution to debate on the Anti-Gang Bill in the Senate on Wednesday. He stressed that police should do their work before detaining people.
He said for people charged for gang activities police need to do proper surveillance to know who are the members of a gang and whether an individual was involved.
“Police have to perform checks and balances of themselves.” Hosein advised including non-traditional weapons such as grenades and military weapons in the bill, as well as allowing a minister to deem a group a gang, similar to legislation in Kenya. He also recalled the May 2014 murder or former Independent Senator and popular attorney Dana Seetahal, SC.
He told the Senate he had done ten weeks’ service at Seetahal’s El Dorado Chambers and she had coached him for a criminal law moot. He said her murder sent chills down the spine of every citizen and the nation went into mourning. Hosein said the case of the men charged with her murder brought up issues of laying charges properly.
“How can (police) properly prosecute offences if they cannot get the basics right?” He described this January, as the bloodiest month for murder in the country’s history and stressed that it cannot be business as usual.
He said the crime situation had people living in self-imposed jails but even in their homes they were not safe: “Criminals coming into your homes and killing you.”