November 27, 2017 – The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) notes the recent comments in the media and wish to address them. We will do so by addressing three myths being perpetuated in the public domain about the Commission.
Myth # 1: INDECOM takes away the rights of police officers because INDECOM charges police officers who exercise their right not to self-incriminate.
The Truth: The INDECOM Act does not compel self-incrimination, as whenever a member of the security forces is asked to give a statement he or she is always reminded that they can refuse to give self-incriminatory information. Eight police officers were unsuccessful in their case brought against INDECOM on this point. The Constitutional Court ruled that the section of the INDECOM Act which speaks to police officers giving statements is not in breach of their constitutional rights. (See: Gerville Williams et al vs. INDECOM)
Myth 2: INDECOM is overzealous in the manner in which they conduct investigations.
The Truth: In the first quarter 249 cases were completed. In 234 of these cases the recommendations were for “no criminal charges and no disciplinary action”. Charges were recommended in 4 cases and disciplinary action recommended in 8 cases.
In the second quarter of 2017, of the 241 cases completed by the legal department, only in 6 of these cases charges were recommended. In 222 of these cases we recommended “no criminal charge or no disciplinary action”.
In the third quarter, 207 cases were completed, of that total, charges were recommended for 2 cases; disciplinary action in 12 cases and in 193 of these cases, no criminal charges and no disciplinary action were recommended.
Myth # 3: INDECOM is causing the demoralization of the JCF
The Truth: No police officer who is acting within the law should be afraid or feel demoralized by INDECOM carrying out its mandate. No police officer who is using force proportionately when carrying out their duties needs to fear an INDECOM Investigation as the Commission does not seek to punish members of the security forces who are carrying out their duties lawfully.
Fatal Shootings vs. Murder Rate