INDECOM Press Release: Response to Comments by Chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation

INDECOM Press Release: Response to Comments by Chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation

October 7, 2013 – The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) finds it necessary to address several comments made to the public by the chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, Sergeant Raymond Wilson, at a press conference on Thursday, October 3, 2013.

Mr. Wilson commented that on at least two occasions 2 members of …the Jamaica Constable Force (JCF) spent 6 and 12 days respectively in jail before being charged having been arrested on reasonable suspicion by INDECOM. This he further stated was a clear breach of Section 15 of the Constitution and a clear breach of Section 22 of the Bail Act.

He also commented that the Supreme Court decision on INDECOM’s statutory powers has affected the morale and operation of the JCF and the Constitutional Court decision on stop and search.

Stop and search

INDECOM’s position is that in any free and democratic society the police must have reasonable suspicion to search.

Police services worldwide must conform to the laws of the land and rulings of the court. A robust, trusted and transparent review of the JCF’s use of force and allegation of corruption facilitates a well respected modern police service in gaining public respect and support.

Regarding the arrest of police officers, INDECOM is currently in advanced discussions with the police high command to ensure that arrests are done with appropriate coordination between the police and INDECOM.

Processing of scenes

As it relates to the processing of scenes, Parliament gave INDECOM primacy on scenes and a vast majority of the scenes are jointly processed by INDECOM’s Forensics Team and the Technical Services Division with professionalism and without incident.

Officers being detained for 6 & 12 days

In the case of the first officer who was detained for 6 days, his remand started on a Friday night as ordered by a Superintendent of Police. His remand continued by order of a Justice of the Peace (JP) who enquired into the case on the weekend and on the following Monday. On Tuesday a Resident Magistrate ordered further remand until Friday and on that day he was charged and brought before the court upon the ruling of the DPP. It should be noted that this happened some 18 days before the judgment was handed down by the Constitutional Court.

In the matter of the officer detained for 12 days, again he was arrested by member of the JCF without intervention by INDECOM. Half of his time spent in custody was spent in hospital receiving treatment, following his release he spent one week in custody. INDEOM thereafter completed its investigation and arranged for him to be taken to court on Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

“Obvious signs of a lawful police shooting”

Further, Sgt. Wilson also stated that: “even when there are obvious signs of a lawful police shooting police officers are still subjected to question and answer sessions, ID Parades, and whatever it is police officers are called upon to participate in by INDECOM representatives.”

On that point, the Commission wishes to reiterate that it is tasked to independently, thoroughly and effectively investigate ALL allegations of misconduct by members of the security forces. Under no circumstance whatsoever does the Commission assume that an act is lawful or unlawful based on “obvious signs.” We independently investigate all allegations with a view to searching for truth in a fair and balanced manner.

We are concerned that the rights of officers are upheld just as the right any other citizen.