THE non-approval of a series of amendments in the Police Complaints Authority Act by the Legislation Review Committee is hindering the authority’s functioning.
In a media release issued Thursday, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) stated it was forced to rely on other institutions such as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and this has caused delays in its investigations.
It stated, “We look forward to our continued work with that Committee to finalise these amendments which would better serve the PCA’s and the public’s interests.”
The PCA stated that the amendments would improve its functionality, but not limited to the following:
- Strengthening the requirement for immediate notification by the offices of the Commissioner of Police and the Police Service Commission in relation to matters within the PCA’s purview;
- Being allowed to retrieve scientific evidence from the scenes of officer-involved shootings including firearms, ammunition and DNA;
- Preserving the scenes of officer involved shootings;
- Submitting for testing all evidence obtained during an interrogation of the scene of an officer involved shooting.
It stated that the attorney general agreed that the PCA’s authority were too limited after two public consultations it hosted in 2016.
The PCA stated that in the absence of the amended legislation, it was “relegated to rely on other institutional bodies, including the TTPS, which as a result, delays the course of our investigations.”
It stated that this caused challenges to receive in a timely manner:
- Critical documents from the Forensic Science Centre such as post mortems and certificates of analysis;
- TTPS investigative files for auditing purposes;
- Reports from officers who discharged their firearms or were present during such discharges.
The PCA’s media release comes days after the deaths of three men in a police-involved shooting in Morvant.