Jamaica Gleaner / Head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) Terrence Williams has dismissed as false, claims by Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips that personnel from the oversight body has disarmed members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
On Tuesday, Phillips took aim at the oversight body urging them to be mindful of the circumstances in which the police operate in Jamaica.
“If I can be blunt, if INDECOM has a problem with the members of the security forces, I don’t think they should disarm them in public, in full view of the citizens,” said Phillips, while addressing a resolution to extend the state of public emergency in St James.
However, the INDECOM boss made it clear that the assertion by Phillips that police officers were being disarmed at shooting incident scenes by investigators was false.
“The fact is, in the eight years that the Commission has been in operation, no INDECOM representative has ever disarmed a police officer at a scene or at any other time. It is always done by another police officer. Further, the police officers are disarmed at a police station,” Williams said in a news release.
The INDECOM Commissioner said that his organisation and the Police High Command had agreed on guidelines for the disarming, labelling and storage of firearms and weapons. He said that these guidelines were communicated to members of the JCF through the Force Orders issued on June 26, 2014.
The Force Orders stated: “any firearm or weapon suspected to have been used during an incident shall be confiscated by the said senior responding officer or investigator. Such confiscation shall be done at a safe location away from the incident scene at the earliest opportunity.”
Williams pointed out that the issue was raised about five years ago by the Jamaica Police Federation following an incident in October 2013 at Jacques Road in Kingston.
He said a letter was sent to the federation chairman with signed statements from the police officers who indicated that they disarmed their colleagues at the Elletson Road Police Station.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that guidelines on disarming police were contained in Force Orders issued on June 26, 2015. The Force Orders were issued in 2014.)