DIRECTOR of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Gillian Lucky said she has learnt that Government plans to enact legislation to bring the PCA under the control of the Justice Ministry, a move that will ultimately remove the constitutionally guaranteed independence of the PCA.
"Any clause that would give a Minister powers to oversee the operations of the PCA would be objectionable and will only serve to undermine the independence of the PCA," she said.
Lucky made the disclosure while speaking at a public forum hosted by the PCA at the San Fernando City Hall auditorium on Tuesday night.
"The Police Complaints Authority is an independent corporate body mandated to independently investigate complaints against police officers involved in criminal offences, police corruption and serious police misconduct."
She said that under the present structure, "no member of the Authority's staff is attached to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service".
In analysing the work that the PCA has done so far, Lucky said: "Several matters which the PCA investigated were sent to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) with the appropriate recommendations. Some of them, including shootings by police officers, are before the courts, so I do not wish to speak about those.
"There are also matters we are investigating, but the moment it gets before the courts, we have to cease investigating until the matter is completed in the courts."
Lucky added: "The rogue cops in the service have brought about the loss of respect by the public, but we cannot carry out our investigations along those lines, neither can we be a part of the court of public opinion in making our decisions."
Any legislation bringing the PCA under ministerial control would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Parliament, Lucky said.
Several town meetings will be held across the country to inform the public about the role of the PCA as a body charged with civilian oversight of law enforcement.