Police Complaints Authority (PCA) head Gillian Lucky yesterday said there has been an increase in the number of civilian complaints alleging an excessive use of police force. Lucky made the statement just moments after her first formal meeting with new acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams at Tower D of the International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain yesterday.
"To date there has been over 600 complaints made to the PCA," she said, adding that of those 600, over 350 were still "live" before the PCA and had not yet entered the legal system.
"And of that, 60 to 70 per cent is for excessive police force," she said, adding that the Use of Force policy was currently being reviewed.
"Bearing in mind the number of fatal shootings and use of excessive force, the matter has been engaging the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. It is a work in progress," she said.
Lucky recommended a separate policy implementation regarding the use of tasers by police officers, saying local officers do have access to the equipment. She also proposed a standing weekly meeting between the PCA and the CoP in order to develop a faster turnover of issues coming from the Police Service to the PCA.
"It is taking too long right now," she said.
While both Lucky and Williams described the meeting as "frank and open", Lucky said the new acting Commissioner of Police "welcome change" to the process.
"It is a remarkable difference," she said, adding that she did not want to make any indictment against anyone who was not present to speak for himself. She said as a long-standing police officer and a lawyer, it was easier to get things done with Williams.
"He was able to grasp it rapidly. With the former commissioner of police there was some catching up that had to be done before we were on the same page," she said.
"It was a meaningful meeting," she said.
Williams, in a telephone interview after the meeting yesterday described the meeting as "excellent". He said he agreed that both groups needed to meet more regularly to further discuss mutual issues.