While neglect of duty continues to be the most common complaint filed at the Police Complaints Authority, the entity receives a significant number of complaints about corrupt practices of police traffic ranks.
Ever so often, reports surface about traffic cops who solicit or demand money from drivers during random traffic stops.
On Thursday, Chairman of the PCA, Justice Cecil Kennard, noted that these complaints are engaging the attention of investigators
Although he could not give an exact figure Justice Kennard said that the complaints against traffic ranks are sizeable.
He stated that the onus is on members of the public to lodge reports to the PCA about the corrupt practices of these police officers.
The judge noted that the PCA is an independent office which is supported by the constitution to investigate and to make pronouncements on such cases.
According to information provided about the work of the PCA, in order for an investigation to be conducted, a complaint must first be lodged at the PCA.
Following this, a statement is taken from the complainant; the police of whom the complaint was made against, is contacted and asked to give an explanation on the said matter by way of statement.
Both the complainant and the accused are entitled to produce a witness or multiple witnesses.
When the investigation is completed recommendations are made and given to the Police Service Commission for the necessary action to be taken.
In cases where the ranks are from Constable to Sergeant, disciplinary hearings are conducted through the Office of the Commissioner of Police. If the ranks are above that of an Inspector and Assistant Commissioner, disciplinary measures will be conducted by the Police Service Commission.
Justice Kennard noted that once policemen are fingered in corruption “they can be charged departmentally or they can be charged and made to face the court.
“It depends on the nature and magnitude of the matter.”
Justice Kennard added, “A number of penalties can be imposed such as a warning, imposing extra duties and/or fines, confinement to the barracks for any period not exceeding 28 days; they can be transferred, be demoted or dismissed.”
Between January 1 and September 30, 2016, the PCA received a total of 145 complaints. Of this number, 135 have been closed. The others are pending.
Other complaints that were investigated by PCA included three corrupt transactions, nine unlawful arrests, two unlawful Seizure of property, nine acting in a manner likely to bring discredit on the reputation of the Force, four assault, two demanding money to prevent prosecution, two for conducting themselves in an important manner, six wanting in civility to members of the public, eight police misconduct, 10 abuse of power, two threats, 10 police harassment, one for conducting himself in an oppressive manner, one use of more force than necessary, and one of abuse.
However of the total complaints, the 68 that dealt with police ranks neglecting their duties represented the majority of complaints reported to the PCA.
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