(Trinidad Guardian) Six police officers were suspended yesterday and 12 others are under investigation after allegations of corruption and misbehaviour in the Eastern Division. The action came after the submission a 250-page report compiled by a constable who reported various acts of misconduct by his colleagues over a period of time.
Copies of the document were sent to National Security Minister John Sandy, Senior Supt of the Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police North East, Senior Supt of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau and an inspector of the Eastern Division. The suspended officers and those under investigation are all assigned to the Valencia and Sangre Grande police stations.
The probe is being conducted by Asst Commissioner Raymond Craig who is head of the Professional Standards Bureau. In the document which prompted the investigation, some of the allegations made were:
• Police officers falsified search warrants, station diary extracts and witness statements;
• engaged in acts of misbehaviour;
• practised discrimination;
• hatched plots to kill witnesses of incidents concerning police officers;
• removed materials from state lands; and
• took part in irregular activities in marijuana eradication exercises in forests.
The whistle-blower also claimed that officers planted narcotics on innocent citizens and practised “unorthodox” methods during illegal searches in exercises in which members of the public were wrongly charged. The serious allegations made in the report also concerned PC Anil Persad who was shot dead during a marijuana eradication exercise in the Cuche/Charuma forest, Rio Claro, on May 12 last year.
After Persad’s death, Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs called a halt to the marijuana eradication exercises in forested areas until an operational review was done to create a procedural policy for future exercises. The officers received their suspension letters yesterday which were signed by Police Commissioner Gibbs.
The letters stated that the officers were under investigation concerning their “misbehaviour in public office.” Also yesterday afternoon, senior officers held an emergency meeting to discuss the investigation and staffing of the Sangre Grande and Valencia stations in the wake of the suspensions and ongoing probe.
When contacted, Craig referred questions to the Public Affairs Unit. Several of the officers who are being investigated confessed ignorance of the developments or their phones were switched off. President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association, Sgt Anand Ramesar, said he has reserved comment on the police commissioner’s action against the cops.