1. Who is referred to as members of the security forces?
Members of the security forces refers to:
- Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)
- District Constables
- Jamaica Defence Force (JDF)
2. Who is referred to as an Agent of the State?
Correctional Officers under the Corrections Act
Other specified officials
3. Can INDECOM arrest members of the security forces and Agents of the State?
Following the Court of Appeal ruling in 2018, INDECOM cases with recommendations for charges, are submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) for a decision. In cases where the ODPP is in agreement with the charge, the arrest will be done by the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) and INDECOM will continue its investigative role.
4. Has any member of the security forces ever been convicted as a result of an INDECOM investigation?
5. Does INDECOM only investigate police shootings?
INDECOM investigates 24 different categories of abuse of citizens’ rights. These include any use of unjustified force or misconduct that result in the death of or injury to any person. Among these categories are:
- Abuse of office
- Breach of INDECOM Act
- Death in Custody
- Destruction of Property
- Discharge of Firearm
- Illegal Entry
- Illegal Search
- Fatal shooting
- Misappropriation of Property
- Neglect of Duty
- Perversion of the Course of the Justice
- Road Death/ Collision
- Seizure of Property
- Sexual Harassment
- Shooting Injury
- Unduly Long Detention
- Unlawful Detention
- Unlawful Wounding
- Unprofessional Conduct
6. Do members of the Security Forces or Agents of the State need legal representation when attending INDECOM to be interviewed?
There is no requirement for legal representation when being examined as a witness under oath. The desire to have a legal representative present, however, are not grounds to delay or postpone a witness interview.
Where the concerned officer is to be interviewed as a suspect he or she will be given an opportunity to seek Counsel.
7. When a member of the Security Force or Agent of the State attends INDECOM, who conducts the interview?
The persons will be interviewed by INDECOM investigators who are assigned to the case.
8. When are members of the Security Force or Agents of the State regarded as concerned officers, witnesses or suspects?
A concerned officer refers to any police officer, soldier or correctional officer (any rank) about whom a complaint is made or who may be involved in the incident that INDECOM is investigating.
- The starting point for most investigations or complaints that are received, is that the concerned officer is initially regarded as a witness. Within the aims of an independent investigation, the ‘concerned officer’ is sought in order to appreciate the full facts of the matter.
- A ‘concerned officer’ is served with a notice showing that he/she is being interviewed as a witness. As a witness, the concerned officer will either provide a witness statement, explaining and accounting for their actions, or be interviewed as a witness.
- The status of ‘suspect’ arises when evidence is obtained which provides reasonable grounds to suspect that the concerned officer may have committed a criminal act.
- Such officers will receive the same safeguards as all citizens and be informed that they are regarded as a suspect in the investigation. They will be served a notice explaining their status and any interview as a suspect can be with a lawyer. Further any such interview as a suspect, can only be voluntary and will be conducted under the Judge’s Rules.
9. Can members of the Security Forces or Agents of the State refuse to answer questions?
When INDECOM invokes Section 21 of the INDECOM Act, a person regarded as a witness cannot refuse to answer questions relating to the investigation, except where such an answer may incriminate themselves or reveal privileged information.
If anyone is informed that they are regarded as a suspect during an INDECOM investigation, then that person will be cautioned that they are not obliged to answer any questions at all.
10. When does INDECOM attend scenes, pursuant to its remit, involving members of the Security Forces or Agents of the State?
INDECOM attends ALL All scenes involving any member of the Security Force or Agents of the State MUST be processed by an independent investigative body, ie INDECOM. The INDECOM Act authorizes the Commission to take charge of and preserve the scene of any incident. Further, the Act states that the Commission will have primary responsibility for the preservation of an alleged incident [See INDECOM Act Section 22]
11. Why does INDECOM compel statements from members of the Security Forces or Agents of the State?
The INDECOM Act allows for any person (Security Force or civilian) who may have information relating to the circumstances of a death, to provide a statement or be interviewed, as a witness. Parliament gave INDECOM powers akin to a Commission of Enquiry, and therefore it can compel anyone with information to give a statement and or answer questions – all with the intention of meeting the aims of the investigation. Other Commissions of Parliament have similar powers to compel statements.
The compelling of statements is important to
(a) ensure that accounts are made quickly, and
(b) to avoid the opportunity for collusion