Hinds: Polygraph, drug tests will weed out corrupt cops

National Security Minister 
Fitzgerald Hinds  -
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds -

MINISTER of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds on Wednesday said corrupt officers will be weeded out from the police service as he piloted a bill to allow heads of department in the protective and public services to require drug-testing, polygraph-testing and submission of biometric data from officers under suspicion or undertaking sensitive roles.

He piloted the Miscellaneous Provisions (Testing and Identification) Bill 2022 in the House of Representatives, as he had done in February.

"One of the problems we have is that there are too many criminals in the police service. And I would like to add to that correct statement, across the board, in all of the services that I have proposed for some amendments here today.

"We have to get rid of those because they put our lives in danger. The ones with integrity you keep, and the others we have to find them and get them out."

He quoted a 2010 speech by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar promising to weed out corrupt police officers. Last July, she urged action against corrupt police officers and noisy bar owners who ruined people's mental health as facilitated by corrupt police officers and some magistrates.

"It is these techniques that will allow the PSB (Professional Standards Bureau) and the PCA (Police Complaints Authority) and the police to identify corrupt officers – as identified by her – and deal with them."

Earlier, he explained the need for the bill against criminal events.

"When these things happen, it raises alarm in the national community. People want answers.

"The investigators pursuing those answers are often limited because they cannot apply the best standards, the best practice, the best science, that exist in the world.

"I come to you today, Parliament, to gain your acquiescence to support the introduction of these techniques in order to assist investigators, to assist employers."

He said the bill contained safeguards to protect the fundamental rights of the persons to ensure proportionality.

Hinds said that under current law, members of the protective services have to submit DNA samples to exclude them from suspicion at a crime scene.

He said the bill would only apply to officers with access to confidential, secret or top-secret information or if an officer was under a "reasonable suspicion" of an act of misconduct or a serious criminal offence or was involved in a serious incident involving death or serious injury.

Later, Energy Minister Stuart Young characterised one Opposition MP's speech as "obstructionist."

He addressed Opposition claims that the bill did not facilitate legal action against errant officers.

Young said the bill's role was to enable department heads to order officers in sensitive positions to be tested, without any need for the bill to list any sanctions which otherwise would naturally flow into his employment from his non-compliance.

He justified the bill, saying, "All it takes is a couple of corrupt persons in key positions to undermine a whole operation."

Young said the bill empowers heads of departments. On the Registrar General's Office, he recalled cases of employees tampering with land certificates or creating bogus birth certificates. Likewise, he mulled the case of a taxpayer owing $35 million in taxes but being facilitated to pay just $1 million by a corrupt employee of the Inland Revenue Division. Young accused the Opposition of creating red herrings by saying the bill did not specify the type of polygraph to be used as he said this will be done in subsequent regulations.

Young said anyone now entering employment could face testing, but the bill was to legislate the testing of current employees.

Young said the times have changed, as have the risks and the temptations amid a more sophisticated criminal network. Advocating testing, he quoted an MP who said corruption has seeped into every part of society. He said there was no valid objection raised about the bill.

"Are those on the other side really interested in making TT a safer, less corrupt place?"


"Hinds: Polygraph, drug tests will weed out corrupt cops"

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