The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) can investigate criminal offences involving police officers, police corruption (as defined in the PCA Act) and serious police misconduct, PCA chairman Gillian Lucky said yesterday.
Her statement sent to the Express came one day after both Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Senior Counsel Martin Daly raised questions about whether the PCA had legal jurisdiction to investigate the issue of the alleged reactivation of the Flying Squad.
Lucky said according to Section 21(1) (b) of the PCA Act, the PCA can "undertake enquiries into, or audits of, any aspect of police activities for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is police corruption or serious police misconduct, or circumstances that may be conducive to both".
According to s. 21 (1) (e) of the act, the PCA can "gather evidence that may be admissible in the prosecution of a person who is not a police officer for a criminal offence in relation to the Police Service and to furnish that evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions," she noted. "To suggest therefore that the PCA is limited to the role of investigating criminal offences involving police officers, police corruption and serious police misconduct is inaccurate," Lucky said.
Further, she said, as it relates to the New Flying Squad Investigation Unit (NFSIU), it has been stated that a decision was made to refer the report of the Ministry of National Security, Honourable Jack Warner and Mr Garvin Heerah, former strategic adviser at the Ministry of National Security to the acting Commissioner of Police, "for an investigation into any alleged wrongdoings, unlawful conduct and/or action by any or all persons purported to be involved in this matter".
If, at any time during the course of his investigation, or on the face of the reports either individually or collectively, the commissioner receives information of any criminal offence involving police officers, police corruption or serious police misconduct, then according to s. 48 (2) of the PCA Act, the acting Commissioner of Police "shall immediately inform the Authority of the investigation in writing and the Authority shall have the sole responsibility for dealing with those matters", Lucky pointed out.
She added: "In any event, the PCA is also empowered to monitor an investigation conducted by the acting Commissioner of Police in relation to any matter dealing with criminal offences involving police officers, police corruption and serious police misconduct and to undertake audits of those investigations.
"It is hoped that the information provided will assist in a greater understanding of the functions of the PCA generally, and the role it is playing specifically in the matter of the alleged existence and operation of the New Flying Squad Investigations Unit."