CHAIRMAN of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), Gillian Lucky, revealed yesterday that the PCA was currently monitoring 815 matters involving investigations against police officers.
Of that number, 30 arose out of deaths of civilians at the hands of police officers, while on duty.
was speaking at a Community Outreach meeting at the Point Cumana Community Centre
The meeting was also attended by Diego Martin West MP and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
said, of the 30 police killings, there are 23 which are a source of concern to the PCA
said, while not all matters involving police killings will be taken up by the PCA
, the 23 she
referred to were said to be the subject, based on allegations by eyewitnesses, of possible excessive police force.
said the PCA's role is to find out where the truth lies.
"If a police officer has acted in the line of duty and has not used excessive force, and has not broken the law but has had to defend himself or his
team or innocent bystanders, and has had to use fatal force, the law allows that.
What is wrong, however, is that if there is no threat to life of police officers or innocent bystanders and there is no threat that anybody is going to be the subject of grievous bodily harm, then the police is not to use deadly force."
complained that reports requested in those matters, including those in which police officers were wounded, were not provided to the PCA
in a timely manner.
"The second thing we noticed is critical documents missing from the files (which are presented to us)," Lucky
"Three months after a shooting in one matter, no statement from CSI (Crime Scene Investigators), no drawing from the TTPS (Trinidad and Tobago Police Service) draughtsman, and witnesses still to give statements.
In another one, two months after, not even photographs on the file.
So we are not even getting, after two months, files containing sufficient documents.
said, also of concern to her
, is that there is the delay in having analysed, as quickly as possible, firearms which were discharged in alleged exchanges of gunfire with civilians.
said, in many instances, the PCA
becomes aware of a police shooting, resulting in the death of a civilian, via the media by which time the scene, once preserved, has already been dismantled and contaminated.
"Things cannot continue like this," she
wanted to make it quite clear, despite the assertion, by some, that the PCA
is not working against the police. but is working in the interest of truth and justice.
said it is well known that there are many instances where allegations, which turn out to be untrue, are made against police officers and that police officers must also be protected.