ATTORNEY Darren Mitchell, who is representing a police officer under investigation for his suspected involvement in the theft of police vehicles, is calling for an investigation into the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB).
Mitchell made the call in a five-page letter dated July 16 to the Prime Minister, Police Complaints Authority (PCA) head David West, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard.
The letter said the officer, who is assigned to the Guapo Police Station, was not at his Fyzabad home on June 26 when members of the PSB visited his home with a search warrant looking for electronic evidence in relation to the theft of police vehicles.
In his letter, the officer claimed $150,000 was taken from his home. According to a media release from the police service on July 19, $91,322 and US$1,130, was seized.
The officer said in his letter the money was part of what he had borrowed to pay for labour and material for repairs on his home, which he shared with his mother. Some of the money, he said, was from his mother, who lived with him and was saving the money to leave for her grandchildren.
He claimed his mother was made to sign a document after the search at his home and days later, on July 1, she was stopped in a roadblock and ordered to the Oropuche Police Station, where she and his sister were questioned, then released without charge.
Mitchell claimed the order to stop his client’s mother was made by senior PSB officers. He called for an immediate investigation into both the search of his client’s home and the random stopping and subsequent questioning of his mother.
The letter said: “It is apparent that several criminal offences may have been committed by officers of the PSB and if such is the case, it tantamount to bringing the department into disrepute. You are reminded of the function of the PSB and the attendant expectation of officers and or agents of the unit. As such my request for a thorough investigation must be treated with the urgency it deserves.”
Mitchell further called on another unit to investigate the claims and not the PSB, whose mandate is to investigate rogue police officers.
West when contacted said the matter will be investigated, Griffith said he would not comment on any ongoing investigations
The investigation into the officer stemmed from the arrest of another Fyzabad man who was allegedly caught driving a decommissioned police vehicle.
At a media briefing in late June, Griffith said some vehicles from among the 1,700 used by the police were missing, and could be used to commit offences.
This came five days after Satesh Ramsamooj, of St John's Road, Avocat was held after he was caught driving a decommissioned police car escorting two trucks along the Naparima Mayaro Road in Tableland. Police found something strange about the escort and when stopped, Ramsamooj allegedly told police he was PC Ramroop.
Ramsamooj was later charged with stealing a police vehicle, impersonating a police officer, forgery of a document, uttering a forged document, and obtaining goods by false pretence.
PSB officers were called in and it was found that the police vehicle used in the alleged offences was stolen from a police impound and had been out of use for some time. It also bore a false registration plate.
Ramsamooj was denied bail and will reappear in court on Monday.
During their investigations into the theft of the car, PSB officers had cause to suspect the officer to be somehow involved and invited him and his attorney to attend a meeting at the PSB office, Matco Building, Henry Street, Port of Spain.
The officer was only released on July 16, after Mitchell successfully filed a writ of habeas corpus.