Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Les Green | JCF review hatchet job on our reputation

Published:Sunday | August 13, 2017 | 8:15 AM

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) review of the 2010 west Kingston clashes has been brought to my attention, and I am very concerned by the false and misleading statements contained within this internal police review.

In relation to my role as assistant commissioner of police, Criminal Investigations Branch, and the operational plan:

6.2 The Operation Plan established a Silver Commander at the rank of assistant commissioner of police with the responsibility for "arrest, search, evidence-gathering, processing of the subject, and treatment of significant other suspects arrested/detained."

The duties and responsibilities for these activities were promptly and fully undertaken by CIB personnel and me once we were tasked by the relevant command structure and it was safe for these to be conducted. However, I must stress that at no time have I or the CIB, in general, been tasked with conducting investigations concerning the use of force by the JCF and/or the JDF. It was, in May 2010, the specific responsibility of the Bureau of Special Investigation (BSI), and they did not form part of the CIB. (NOTE: There have been at least two exceptions that I know of to this rule, and on both occasions, they were as a direct result of a specific command by the relevant commissioner of police, and these did not relate to this activity in 2010).

I cannot account for the oversight in the operational plan for failing to mention the role of the BSI (as prior to Wednesday, May 26, 2010, I was not in any way involved in the planning, implementation, or response to this operational activity) although I am aware that the commissioner of police, Owen Ellington, immediately and properly addressed this issue (where civilians were injured or killed, within the specified area of activity), by confirming that all related investigations would solely rest with the BSI, as per normal operational procedures, and that the CIB and I would provide all possible assistance.

This was provided by CIB officers on the ground and within the local divisional command structures that existed at the time and, more important, by the forensic crime-scene investigators who were attached to the Scene of Crime Unit within the Technical Service Division of CIB.

I cannot account for the conduct of the enquiry, but I see no reason why they should have asked me to provide evidence relating to the recovery of dead bodies, identification of bodies, evidence gathering relative to allegations of extrajudicial killings.

These were, and have always been, the sole remit of the BSI, with the appropriate support of local CIB and crime-scene personnel.

In relation to the role of the CIB in general and the following misleading and erroneous comments made in the review:

Despite the absence of the CIB participation ... . The committee found that the system was not followed according to the plan, due to the absence of the CIB participation; ... this specific responsibility was a matter for the CIB in accordance with the Operation Plan.

 

Critical

 

7.13 Situational analysis is critical in dynamic circumstances such as what existed during May 2010. No member of the Mobile Reserve team had the duty to process dead bodies. This specific responsibility was a matter for the CIB in accordance with the operation plan.

It is to be noted, that the carrying out of investigations would have been the remit of the CIB. Records that were made should have been obtained, acted on, and preserved by the CIB.

These comments are totally unfounded and unjustified for the reasons I have highlighted above. In addition, it is incumbent on all JCF personnel to make appropriate reports and records of relevant activity and to retain those in line with standard JCF procedures. Clearly, in violent and dynamic events, these will be made as soon as possible after the event and retained in accordance with the JCF procedures.

Specially relating to 7.13 above, the only authorised personnel who can 'process dead bodies' within the JCF are the forensic crime-scene investigators, and this was completed by them when it was safe for them to do so. They and the CIB cannot be held accountable for any prior activity conducted during the operational phase of the activity, and they are not trained or equipped for such work.

I respectfully request that the false and misleading statements be promptly addressed in this publicly circulated review document (published on the JCF website page and widely reported in the media) as any delays will continue to cause distress, alarm, and harm to the reputations of nearly 1,500 members of the JCF, who were members of the CIB in May 2010.

I was honoured and privileged to have served in the CIB, and I can personally vouch for numerous CIB personnel who, during this period, demonstrated the very highest standards of professionalism, discipline, and dedication. This JCF internal review document has tarnished us all with an injustice that must be immediately addressed.

- Leslie Green is a retired assistant commissioner of police. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.