Body cameras suggested for T&T police

(Trinidad Guardian) Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Gillian Lucky has recommended that police be outfitted with body cameras when out on duty to execute search warrants and for closed-circuit television cameras to be installed in all charge rooms and holding cells at police stations.

She said the cameras were not only to expose potential wrongdoing but also to prevent misbehaviour. Lucky made the call during the PCA’s seventh community outreach programme at the Bon Air High School on Wednesday, which was also attended by Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia Hospedales.

Addressing residents in the school auditorium, Lucky said the PCA was looking with keen interest into the circumstances surrounding the death of Stacy Ramdeen. Ramdeen, the 32-year-old mother of three of Ibis Gardens, Caroni, died last Thursday, after police claimed she swallowed cocaine during a raid at her home.

Two autopsies were performed last Friday, the first of which ruled that Ramdeen died from asphyxia and that there was no trace of cocaine in her system. A second autopsy concluded Ramdeen died from strangulation, which later prompted relatives to call for an independent investigation to ascertain how she really died.

Referring specifically to Ramdeen, Lucky said while the PCA did not prejudge any matter, it had to ensure investigations were done in an fair, thorough, accurate and honest manner. Revealing that PCA investigators were set to visit Ramdeen’s house yesterday as part of their investigation, Lucky said the PCA was monitoring the investigation and would receive copies of all police reports.

She said after she spoke with acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, a police officer from outside the Central Division had been assigned to investigate the matter. Seeking to educate the public about the PCA’s responsibilities and functions, as well as its role in the civilian oversight of law enforcement, Lucky sought to dispel the notion that the PCA was a toothless bulldog.

Pointing out that the PCA Act, proclaimed in January 2007, had breathed new life into the it, Lucky explained that after she was appointed director in December 2010, the PCA set out to address the issues before it and deliver service to complainants.

The three areas which would determine the PCA’s involvement include allegations of criminal offences involving police officers, police corruption and serious police misconduct.

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