January 31, 2018 – The Independent Commission of Investigations must correct the assertions made by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, that the Commission’s investigators disarm police officers “in the streets”.
The fact is, in the eight years that the Commission has been in operation, no INDECOM representative has ever disarmed a police officer at a scene or at any other time. It is always done by another police officer. Further, the police officers are disarmed at a Police Station.
This issue was raised by the Jamaica Police Federation following a fatal shooting incident on October 12, 2013 at Jacques Road, Kingston 3. A letter was sent to the Federation Chairman enclosed with signed statements from the police officers involved, who indicated that they disarmed their colleagues at the Elletson Road Police Station.
Further, guidelines on the disarming, labelling and storage of firearms and weapons were agreed upon by INDECOM and the JCF High Command. Subsequently, these guidelines were issued in the JCF Force Orders of June 26, 2014 (Serial Number 3499) where it was communicated to members that:
“any firearm or weapon suspected to have been used during an incident shall be confiscated by the said senior responding officer or Investigator. Such confiscation shall be done:
i. At a safe location away from the incident scene at the earliest opportunity.”
The truth is, seizure and inspection of a police officer’s firearm has always been a part of the Commission’s investigative process; the seizure and examination is provided for in the statute.
All weapons involved in shooting incidents, whether fatal or non-fatal, are then boxed and sealed at the police stations during this process. The weapons are then taken to the forensic lab by the police where the seals are broken in the presence of an INDECOM investigator before analysis commences.
To conclude, the Commission wishes to reiterate that the assertion that police officers are being disarmed at shooting incident scenes by investigators is false.