JENSEN LA VENDE
A policeman believes he is the target of a set-up after photographs of a scantily-dressed woman wearing his uniform in his office at a station began circulating on social media on Friday.
Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Michael Sooker said he knew nothing about the woman being in his office or wearing his uniform. Sooker’s substantive rank is inspector.
The woman took three selfies in his shirts, which had the titles inspector and ASP stitched on, and one had the pin with Sooker’s name and regimental number. Sunday Newsday understands the woman is a bartender and works in Barataria.
Police Commissioner Stephen Williams ordered the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) to investigate the leaked photographs.
Sooker yesterday said it was his practice to leave his uniforms in his office and said the incident was an attempt to tarnish him, noting promotions are around the corner.
Asked if the photographs caused his wife to kick him out their bedroom, Sooker laughed and said no, adding his wife and family are supportive and she understood the character of the man she married.
Sooker did say he would have to be more careful with the service’s open door policy that allows the public to have easy access to officers.
“The open door policy was mandated by the commissioner so I can not stop but I have to be more careful from now on,” Sooker said adding while the investigation is supposed to be done as swiftly as possible, up to 3 pm yesterday, he had not been questioned.
According to the Police Service Act Chapter 15:01, any person, other than a police officer, who, not being specially authorised in writing by the Commissioner so to do (a) wears the uniform of a police officer or any portion thereof; (b) wears any costume or any article of clothing or apparel so closely resembling the uniform or any portion thereof of a police officer that he may reasonably be mistaken for a police officer, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years.
Since the three photos were leaked citizens have created memes with the photographs, with one suggesting the woman was part of sexy police calendar with proceeds from sales going to train officers to shoot.
This was a jab at a shooting between two officers in a dispute over a woman at Grand Bazaar mall, Valsayn on Wednesday. The two who were less than 12 feet apart did not sustain serious injuries although 28 rounds were discharged, with seven hitting them. This incident is also being investigated.
On Friday, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon told the House of Representatives “the necessary disciplinary action will be taken” against the two officers.
He added that the Police Service did not condone this incident.
Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh then asked Dillon, based on his being a former chief of defence staff, that given how close the two policemen had been to each other, “Are you surprised that 28 bullets passed and only three found their mark?”
Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George disallowed the question.