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Tuesday 26 March 2019
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Police involved in killings should be taken off active duty

Police officers who are involved in alleged police killings may soon find themselves being taken off active duty, until investigations into allegations are completed.

Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), Gillian Lucky, made the disclosure on Tuesday while speaking at a town meeting at the Marabella North Secondary School, Guaracara Tabaquite Road, Gasparillo. The PCA caravan has been visiting communities informing them of their role.

Lucky, an attorney-at-law said she has been engaged in discussions with the executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.. She said she has been working closely with Acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams.

She said, “I have been told that measures will be put in place to ensure that officers who are involved in these killings, that we look at how they can get the necessary assistance, be it psychological, or whatever else it may be. Although we don’t have a system in Trinidad and Tobago that deals with taking those officers off active duty, getting some method whereby the fastest kind of approach can be considered.”

Lucky said police killings were now cause for concern in the country.

Last Friday, Nigel Jones 32, of Charuma Village, Biche, was allegedly shot and killed by a police officer as he made his way home from his garden. The killing sparked fiery protests in the rural district.

“Relatives are saying they want justice, but burning of tyres, or protest will not help the situation,” she further explained..

“I want to point out to you, many times when police officers kill persons, it may not be that they have acted wrongly, in law they are allowed to protect themselves, so for those officers who are not in the wrong, who have not used what we call excessive force, or unreasonable force, they need things like counselling.”

She said while many of them can justify why they did what they did, the fact remains that they killed another person. They killed another human being, and that cannot be an easy thing,” she said.

Three years after Rio Claro villager, Glen Ashby, was shot and killed by police, Lucky said that documents for the files were received only earlier this year.

Lucky said that crime in the country was “at an all time high; the detection rate was low, and not where it should be,” she added..

Lucky pleaded with the young men in the audience to show respect to police officers; she called on officers to also show respect to persons while carrying out their duties.

“We have to live a life, whether we are individuals, whether we are an entity , whether we are government. We must practise what we preach because at the end of the day, we cannot be asking people to do the right thing if we ourselves are not prepared to do the right thing.” Several young men in the audience related their bad experiences at the hands of police officers. She advised them to take their complaints to PCA.

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