Judge Takes Barbados Police To Task – Failure To Perform Internal Investigations Into Police Wrong-Doing

“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.

16 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Police

16 responses to “Judge Takes Barbados Police To Task – Failure To Perform Internal Investigations Into Police Wrong-Doing

  1. PiedPiper

    If, in fact, a Police Complaints Authority actually exists in Barbados, the members should be made up of non-police citizens with no political affiliations in order to be effective.
    The members should be able to freely and independently investigate without political or police interference. But, having said that, here in Canada we have the equivalent of the PCA which is called the SIU and it does investigate all allegations of police misconduct and all incidents where a police officer has used his gun, there has only rarely been a finding of police misconduct. This is, in part, due to the powerful police union and it’s independent association which protects it’s members even when misconduct is glaringly obvious.
    Police officers, called before the inquiry, are well rehearsed and in my opinion, will blatantly lie in order to protect their fellow officers.

  2. Fool me once

    Just can’t sleep waiting to know who is on this so called Police Complaints Authority and how much they get paid?

    How many complaints have they handled? What was the outcome?

    Oh we see that the PCA will only do something if the Commissioner of Police asks them to.

    The fox and the henhouse come to mind but in reverse: the hen in charge will be eaten if he goes into the foxhouse so he never goes.

  3. reality check

    one step down from a Banana Republic!

  4. Barbados the beautiful

    Hey BFP doncha know there are no incompetent, lazy, dishonest, forgetful, overbearing, unfair, self interested, corrupt, bullying or malicious police officers here? That is why there have never been any complaints by the public. Can’t you get your facts straight?

  5. Fool me once

    Don’t agree with reality check’s comment “one step down from a Banana Republic”. Thas cause we don’t got no bananas. Like all other food on this rock they too expensive for us to buy.

    What we do got is lotsa cheap rum and no drunk driving laws.

    We a Rum-up and Drive Republic. Many steps down from a Banana Republic.

  6. Technician

    Seriously BFP….the RBPF is like a brotherhood….do you think they will ever squeal on each other, if they did, the force would be empty.I would have sworn that this case was an open and shut one, due to all the evidence available. Remember the officers who kidnapped the ‘bum’…took him to a cane field and told him to run while using him as target practice?
    What was their punishment?
    I could go on and on but I think we all get the picture .
    It is not only the RBPF either, the doctors at the QEH are just as bad.

  7. Pingback: » Why have police in Barbados failed to investigate death threats? Keltruth Corp.: News Blog of Keltruth Corp. - Miami, Florida, USA.

  8. J

    I know an old lady whose husband was killed by a drunken off duty policeman in a traffic incident about ten years ago on Codrington Hill. The widow is 80+ now and the investigation and charges and acquital or conviction has not been done yet. The policeman is still serving, we can’t take away a fella’s little pick you see. The widow is still waiting for justice. The authorities are waiting for the widow to die.

    Somewhere in the Bible and the Koran and the Talmud and all other holy books there is something about people who unfair widows and orphans. Once of these days we are going to get it good. God is NOT a Bajan, and God don’t sleep.

    You ever see any policeman live to be a 100 yet? they can’t they too wicked.

  9. So Long

    I have utilised both the services of the complaints authority and the office of professional responsibility and have gotten no where. In fact, two years ago a 4WD special forces vehicle stopped in front of me just after the traffic lights on the two way highway leading east towards Warrens blocking a line of traffic leading back to the University. I blew the horn in disgust and the biggest guys imaginable were out of the vehicle in a flash detaining me for ten minutes with totally unnecessary questions at the end of which one of them said to me “Who you feel you gun complain to nuh?”

  10. Sargeant

    Police investigating themselves and you expected a different outcome? Surely you jest BFP. This is the “Thin Blue Line”, a brotherhood and they all stick together. Remember when that bystander was shot during a police chase a few weeks ago and the Commisioner declared that the shot did not come from his constables’ guns without even a ballistics test?

    But bajans should take heart that these situations are not confined to .their jurisdiction, they also happen in the Great White North where some magistrates have taken to excoriating some officers because their evidence smacks of obvious collusion e.g. notes of witness officers which seem remarkably similar, when charges are brought against fellow officers. Any police officer who testifies against a fellow officer may well have to resign or face isolation from fellow cops. The revulsion that officers feel against members of the Internal Affairs unit is not just movie hype. I think that the expectation of a conviction was there because this incident was captured by the Nation’s photographers and there were other eyewitnesses. Policemen here (Canada) are often acquitted by juries even in the face of overwhelming evidence because they are there “to serve and protect”

    In Toronto, there is also a Police complaints Commission, however the initial complaint must be made through a police station so my guess is that many people may be too intimidated to go to a police station and file a complaint against an officer.

  11. So Long

    Incidentally the Police complaints authority is on Hinks Street on the sea side.

    *************

    BFP says,

    And how are the ordinary citizens to know this fact? What are the hours? I can’t find a telephone listing.

    Oh well… betta not be complaining then!

  12. So Long

    Signage BFP

  13. The Truth

    BFP and other blogs hold the power of truth in this country. Speak loud and clear. Please post the pictures of the guilty three officers and find out where they are now. We the free must stand strong and bring them down.
    BFP must start a link for us to report these crimes to your readers.

  14. Mac

    Our constablary is to Serve, Reassure and Protect. However ,the recent dismissal of charges against three off duty SSU officers was not a miscarriage of Justice but an abortion of natural justice. Are we being told that the police force is accountable to themselves and can do as they like. The Commissioner of Police, Attorney General and Director Of Public Prosecution should take urgent action to ensure that justice is served. We have seen what is happening in countries such as Jamaica and Trinidad when the constablary is seen as the villian rather than protector. I am calling on all citizens to send an email or letter to the commissioner of police of their uttermost disgust on this dangerous verdict. As a public we must never loose confidence in our Police Force as this is a recipe for anarchy and civil unrest.
    Many Commissioner you have the mandate to ensure protection of property and persons for all persons within Barbados and thus you must not fail in your role to ensure the laws of the land is enforced equitably.

  15. Pingback: Nation News Finally Discovers That Barbados Police Don’t Give A Damn About Rule Of Law « Barbados Free Press

  16. Anonymous

    I have to mention that the Royal Barbados Police Force will continue to treat it’s civilians without regard. Bajans need to arm themselves because as history shows any country or state that are allowed to arm themselves are at the mercy of their government. It is time for a change in social thinking. Barbados is beautiful on the outside for tourist, but for the people who make Barbados beautiful hatred is the reward for our love I quote ” Bob Marley”.