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Senior cop takes aim at INDECOM boss

Published:Thursday | October 27, 2016 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell

A member of the Police High Command yesterday shelved diplomacy and took aim at the head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), Terrence Williams, indicating that the manner in which the commissioner of the oversight body carries out his job was creating tension between the police force and the agency.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds told a parliamentary committee yesterday that while members of the force have a good relationship with the staff of INDECOM, the law-enforcement agency has a problem with the oversight body's leader.

Hinds, who was appearing before the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), was yesterday quizzed about the relationship between INDECOM and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) by committee members, who also wanted to know whether the proposed signing of a memorandum of understanding between the bodies, in less than a week, would address operational concerns on both sides.

"I was deliberate in using the word 'good' because the relationship between INDECOM and JCF officers is, by and large, good," Hinds told committee members.

However, he said: "The major issue we have is with the commissioner of INDECOM. I must make this distinction because there is a regular scheduled meeting between the heads of both departments. Agreements are made and arrived at, but they must be signed off by the commissioner of INDECOM, and quite often, those are flipped. They can't come to any agreement that is going to bind INDECOM unless he (Williams) agrees to it."

Hinds insisted that while both the JCF and INDECOM grapple with issues on the ground, there is generally a good relationship between the staff of the oversight agency and the police. He made it clear that the problem was not with the legislation governing INDECOM but stressed that it was how "some persons in INDECOM, more so the commissioner, applies his remit".

Committee member Fitz Jackson said he appreciated Hinds' forthright remarks, adding that INDECOM reported to Parliament, and as such, the PAAC, in its full report to the House of Representatives, should propose an intervention strategy to address the senior police officer's concern.

Jackson charged: "None of us are God unto ourselves."

He said the commissioner of INDECOM has to be accountable to the Jamaican Parliament.

Efforts to reach Williams for a comment were unsuccessful as his phone rang repeatedly without an answer.