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Police didn't plant guns in Tivoli - senior cop

Published:Thursday | November 5, 2015 | 11:00 AMLivern Barrett

A high-ranking member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has dismissed suggestions that some of the illegal firearms recovered during the May 2010 operation had been planted by police personnel.

Superintendent Michael Phipps told the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry yesterday that he was "specifically" looking out for this, but saw nothing and had no evidence to support that suggestion.

The Office of the Public Defender, in its interim report to Parliament on the conduct of the operation, indicated that there was "anecdotal" evidence that "most of those weapons [seized in the operation] actually came in from the large stockpile of arms seized and maintained by the security forces prior to and in operations entirely unrelated to the incursion".

The report also suggested that this be "put to acid test of vigorous examination".

Phipps testified that a total of 141 illegal firearms and 7,049 assorted rounds of ammunition were seized in the main operation in Tivoli Gardens and secondary operations in several parishes. He acknowledged that 21 of the guns were seized in the west Kingston community.

However, the senior investigator insisted that no member of the JCF planted any weapons during the operation.

TRACKING MECHANISM INPLACE

"None of the weapons that were reportedly recovered in the area of operation or elsewhere connected to the operation were ever under the control of the security forces," Phipps testified.

"If any were, I would be aware because I will not share here now, but we have special things to treat with every weapon that comes into the police custody. If there is any weapon that is being recycled, that would be detected at the forensic lab," he continued.

Phipps testified that the JCF has systems in place to trace firearms seized by police personnel, but said because of security concerns he could not provide details.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com