Sunday 29 November, 2020

INDECOM takes offence to reported statement by DPP

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) says it has taken note of recent comments reportedly made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) during a broadcast on a radio station, which INDECOM said, among other things, inaccurately represented the commission’s investigative capabilities and competence.

“The DPP’s reference that INDECOM only makes recommendations for charges in 10 per cent of cases is puzzling, as that is not a measure of efficiency of an investigative body,” said INDECOM in a release.

“It is also important to note that an independent investigation relies heavily on accounts of officers with deep-rooted ‘squaddie cultures’. In the absence of body-worn cameras and eyewitnesses, it is misguided to take comfort in a low percentage of recommendations for criminal charges.

“All complainants can be assured that there will be a thorough, impartial, transparent and objective analysis based on complaints, public concerns raised and evidence uncovered,” said the INDECOM release

It went further to suggest that as an investigative body, the organisation has brought significant change to Jamaica. It said in 10 years, the work of the commission has resulted in a number of positive developments.

“This includes a significant decline in police fatal shootings,” stated INDECOM.

The release said that 2019 saw the lowest figure in over two decades. Reduction in fatalities from planned police operations, reduction in suspicious police-involved fatal shootings, reduction in shootings by off-duty officers, reduction in multiple-fatality shootings, and reduction in officers firing at moving vehicles were al cited.

INDECOM said investigative competence should be measured by changed behaviour and consequences as a result of the work of the organisation.

“Impact and success should therefore not be measured by convictions…, as the commission does not provide oversight and investigate incidents with the sole intention to charge,” the release stated.

“Investigations commence to know and explain what happened to all concerned, with the expectation that there will be an improvement in conduct and practices toward the professionalisation of the security forces, and where there is liability, recommended sanctions (are) implemented,” the release added.

INDECOM suggested that the work done has contributed towards the organisation becoming the first Caribbean and non-American recipient of the NACOLE (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement) Achievement in Oversight Award.

“INDECOM’s investigative staff receive continuous internal and external training on interview and forensic best practices, statement taking and court preparation,” the release stated.

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