“Our democratic society demands that the police cannot function effectively unless it enjoys the confidence, co-operation and support of the public. The establishment of a sound police/public relationship is therefore one of the fundamental objectives of this Force…” …from the broken website of the Royal Barbados Police Force
When The Police Fail To Investigate Their Own – How Can The Force Maintain Public Respect?
According to an article in the Nation News, Magistrate Pamela Beckles lambasted the Royal Barbados Police Force for poorly investigating wrong-doing by police officers. Magistrate Beckles stated this as she was forced to dismiss assault charges against three Special Services Unit constables who were accused of assaulting surfer Matthew Kydd and a student Kane Garrett some four years ago on May 5, 2004.
Four years delay. Just think of the mischief that had to be done by the police to delay they case four years!
The police had not investigated the matter well enough according to the court. This was even though the Nation News had published photographs of the assault in progress as a reporter had stumbled upon the scene.
The prosecutor’s file was a joke containing no statements by the complainants, no investigating officer in charge and no witness list or identification parade. The case had been programmed for failure by the police who didn’t want to lay charges against their own.
What a big surprise! This is the same Royal Barbados Police Force whose officer use pre-signed blank search warrants to collect back rent for a corrupt Director of Public Prosecutions. (See BFP’s story on Ronja Juman here and here)
What Police Complaints Authority?
Did you know that the Barbados Police Complaints Authority was (sort of) established in 2004, but that it never met once from April 2005 to mid 2007?
What a disgusting fraud this BPCA is. It was put in place as a political tool so the BLP government and the police could say that the issue of police oversight had been effectively addressed.
Fraud. That’s exactly what was perpetrated on the people of Barbados, and it continues to this day.
Here are some questions… basic, ordinary questions that might be asked by any citizen. Go ahead… see if you can find the answers.
Fraud, I tell you. Fraud.
Who are the members of the Barbados Police Complaints Authority? What is their contact information?
Where does one make a complaint directly to the Barbados Police Complaints Authority so the police will not have to handle the complaint in any way?
Where are the offices of the Barbados Police Complaints Authority? What is the contact information: phone, fax number and email address?
What are the standards of the BPCA for receiving a complaint? What is their mission statement? Who are they responsible to? What is the chain of command for the BPCA? What decisions do they make and by what criteria? Do they have a legally mandated duty to report to complainants within certain time periods?
When, where and how often do they meet? How many complaints did they investigate in the last year? What were the dispositions of those complaints? What is the nature of their investigations? Do they have independent investigators assisting them?
These and a hundred more valid questions are without many answers, because, simply put – there is no transparency or public accountability shown by the Police Complaints Authority. No website, no published telephone number or address. No public presence at all. (Oh… not true, several years ago I once saw a pamphlet on a police officer’s desk.)
This is the only thing we could find about their mandate. It is a blurb that we found online at a Latin American Security Forces website…
In addition to the Office of Professional Responsibility within the police force, there exists an external body that deals with complaints made against members of the RBPF. The Police Complaints Authority [PCA] is an independent government agency under the direction of the Attorney General, whose duties are to investigate cases in which police officers or constables have injured or killed a person, or other cases that have been
directed to it by the Commissioner of Police (Barbados Police Complaints Authority Act, 7, (1)). It consists of 5 members: 2 appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister; 1 appointed by the Governor General on his own discretion; 1 former gazetted police officer; and the Head of the Civil Service (Barbados Police Complaints Authority Act, Schedule, 1). The PCA directs its completed reports to the Commissioner, or, in cases of criminal offences, to the Director of Public Prosecutions (Barbados Police
Complaints Authority Act, 10).
What a joke. What a fraud.