First Look

£1.5M in DFID support to INDECOM

INDECOM | 2012-10-17 00:00:00

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) will be increasing its investigative capacity as a result of budgetary support provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) of £1.5m. The funds will be disbursed over a 3 year period which began in June 2012.

Speaking at the soft opening of the Laboratory, Commissioner of INDECOM, Mr. Terrence Williams, revealed that the support from DFID has made it possible for the Commission to:

  • Procure a Comparison Microscope, a piece of equipment used in forensic sciences to compare microscopic patterns and identify or deny their common origin.
  • Outfit a secured area in the current Head Office in Kingston to serve as a Laboratory with this Comparison Microscope for the purpose of ballistic examination.
  • Engage a ballistics expert to perform the requisite functions of ballistic testing for investigations being conducted by Commission; 
  • Fund training of the existing Forensics and Investigative personnel for the purpose of certification in the area of ballistics examination.

“The procurement of the Comparison Microscope and the opening of this Laboratory are significant steps in the life of INDECOM and will increase our ability to close cases in a timely manner. This, to an extent, will assist us in meeting our self-imposed 60 day target,” Mr. Williams said.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) was established following prolonged public complaints that the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force should not investigate wrongdoings committed by the security forces. The public remained adamant that even if the BSI does impartial and creditable investigations, they will remain suspicious, as the police should not be investigating the police.

The instances of abuse of citizens’ rights have increased dramatically over the years. Civilians have made hundreds of reports about members of the security forces using unjustified force that results in fatalities, loss of property or assault. This concern resulted in legislation being passed to establish an independent commission with responsibility for investigating police shootings as well as other instances of abuse. This piece of legislation now known as the INDECOM Act was passed on April 15, 2010. The Commission began operation on August 16, 2010.

The Commission is currently in charge of more than 1500 ongoing investigations into allegations of abuse by agents of the state, distributed over our three branches – St. James (Western Office), Mandeville (Central Office), and Kingston (Head Office).  The cases date back to 2008, some two years before INDECOM began operations. Prior to that, they were being investigated by the Police Public Complaints Authority (PPCA) or the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI).

The allegations are divided into 23 categories, these include, fatalities (by shooting or under other circumstances); abuse of office; unprofessional conduct; assault; corruption, rape; misappropriation of property, and threat. The top three allegations are fatal shooting, assault and shooting injury, which when combined, account more than 60 per cent of all our investigations.

Posted By :Kahmile Ried

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