June 24, 2020 – The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) notes recent comments by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) during a broadcast on a radio station, which among other things inaccurately represented the Commission’s investigative capabilities and competencies.

Investigative competence is revealed and should be measured by changed behaviour and consequences. Impact and success should therefore not be measured by convictions (if at all), as the Commission does not provide oversight and investigate incidents with the sole intention to charge. Investigations commence to know and explain what happened to all concerned, with the expectation that there will be improvement in conduct and practices toward the professionalization of the Security Forces and where there is liability, recommended sanctions implemented.

INDECOM as an investigative body has brought significant change to Jamaica. In ten years, the work of the Commission has resulted in:

  • Significant decline in police fatal shootings; 2019 saw the lowest figure in over two decades;
  • Reduction in fatalities from planned police operations;
  • Reduction in suspicious involved police fatal shootings;
  • Reduction in shootings by “off-duty” officers;
  • Reduction in multiple fatality shootings; and
  • Reduction in officers firing at moving vehicles.

This impact led to INDECOM 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 DPP’s reference that INDECOM only makes recommendations for charges in 10% of cases is puzzling, as that is not a measure of efficiency of an investigative body. 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 eye witnesses, 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.

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