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Police welcome complaints changes

Six years worth of complaints against the police went uninvestigated until now.
Those complaints from the public now are set to head to the Office of Ombudsman and Deputy Police Commissioner Kurt Walton says it’s something he and his troops are looking forward to.
“We have absolutely nothing to hide, the way we go about our business is professional, we’re trained professionals,” said Mr Walton as he welcomed the creation of an independent entity, the Office of Ombudsman which will hear complaints against officers and bring some resolution to them.

“We go about everyday doing our job and doing it to the best of our ability with one purpose and one purpose only and that’s to establish the truth, that’s it and to bring offenders to justice,” he said.

The office replaces the Police Complaints Authority which was never appointed. Acting in its absence the Professional Standards Unit which only took note of complaints.

“What we have holding within the Professional Standards we just hand over to them, just for transparency. That’s what it’s really about, the transparency to let them decide whether to pursue it or not or decide what needs to be done,” Mr Walton said.

No figure was available for the number of complaints.

Ombudsman project head Peter Gough says when it comes to deciding on issues of discipline coming out of the complaints “that’s the responsibility of the Commissioner of Police to discipline his staff.”

Under the law the Ombudsman can investigate and make recommendations to parliament.
Next week the Office of Ombudsman bill heads to the LA and under its powers will be presiding over complaints against the police as well as complaints of maladministration and freedom of information requests.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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