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Ramesar wants police recruitment process revisited
President of the Police Social Welfare Association Insp Anand Ramesar is calling on acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to re-evaluate the recruitment process for the T&T Police Service after the arrests of eight officers. Up to yesterday, a Southern Division constable remained in custody for allegedly raping a schoolboy earlier this year while four Princes Town policemen were expected to be charged after being positively identified by 18-year-old Jameson John, who reported that seven policemen had doused him with a flammable liquid before setting him on fire last December.
Speaking by telephone, Ramesar said, “It is never a good thing when allegations of gross misconduct are made against police officers. Regardless of whether the allegations are true or false, injury is done to the image of the police service that will not be repaired, even if the allegations are proven to be false. “It is of concern to the association when allegations of these nature occur against officers. It raises the issue of the reliability of our selection process. “Having regard to the changes and the introduction of different testing methods, it is unfortunate that the statistics do not show a reduction in the annual amount of allegations made against police officers.” He added, “It is important that the Commissioner of Police re-evaluate what is being done in the selection process with a view to improving the professionalism and the conduct of police officers. It would be unfortunate if no effort is made to change the status quo.”
Noting that there have also been allegations against the service in relation to the 27 police killings this year, Ramesar said the welfare body supports investigations against police. But he lamented that it take too long for investigations to be completed and a key objective should be to complete all investigations efficiently and with transparency. “The association has always maintained that it will support investigations into any allegations of misconduct against police officers. Notwithstanding this, we ask for due process, as is the right of every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. “Too often investigations against police officers appear to be a bit tardy, as to the current circumstances of the Princes Town matter. Efficiency coupled with transparency is necessary and too often the processes appear to be wanting in this regard,” Ramesar said.
CoP: No one charged
Contacted on the matter yesterday, Williams said he preferred not to comment on the arrests until investigations were completed. "In those matters, none of them have been charged at this point in time, so after we complete the investigation. It is part of the investigation process and after this is through, then I can comment on the matter,” he said. Asked whether the amount of arrests and allegations against police were of concern to the service, he said, "Well, I don't know what you mean by, 'If it is worrying?' If there is an allegation against an officer, I think the concern that the police will have is taking a course of action. There is no increase right now as against any other time in the course of the organisation's history.”