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...Too many officers absent from court

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

THE absenteeism rate of police officers to court, which leads to the eventual dismissal of matters, is “unduly high” in this country and must be examined, Prof Ramesh Deosaran said yesterday.

Deosaran made the statement yesterday as he sat with the Express in a one-on-one interview on his last official day in office as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

“The Commission has grown worried during my tenure over the number of cases that have to be dismissed because of the non-appearance of police officers,” Deosaran said yesterday.

“The numbers seem too high, whatever the reason behind their absence, but on the face of it they seem too high,” he said.

Deosaran called on acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to address the situation.

“We also have to ask him the reasons why so many police officers get themselves absent when cases are called, to have the magistrates and judges dismiss the matter, leaving the victims unattended to and in a grievous state of having their suffering unattended to,” he said.

During an appraisal meeting last year, the PSC asked Williams to provide empirical data surrounding officer absenteeism at court matters.

The PSC received that report from Williams and Deosaran said while he could not provide the exact statistics, “the figures are unduly high”.

“The next step was to investigate more deeply the reason, whether it was sick leave, study leave or just non appearing and we wanted to know what disciplinary actions would be taken,” he said.

“We are going to press him to find out what steps are being taken in this scenario,” Deosaran said.

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