Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Gun-planting cops - INDECOM paints grim picture of JCF

Published:Friday | May 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer


Hamish Campbell, assistant commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), yesterday declared that the repeated allegations of 'planted firearms' was beyond anecdotal as findings contained in the oversight body's First Quarterly Report 2018 painted a grim picture of the police force.

Campbell, who was addressing a press conference at the commission's head office yesterday, first gave examples of two instances where guns had been recovered from a fatal shooting. The weapons had already been submitted to the police laboratory in respect of a previous shooting, one as recent as this year.

"In those matters, there are witnesses who claimed an alleged 'planting', and the weapon seems to indicate some mishandling," he said.

He then disclosed that a recent investigation of a police shooting revealed that the firearm purported to have been found on the dead man was questionable because the same weapon was already recorded in police custody records as having been seized a month before.

Campbell also pointed out that the ballistic examination of a police MP5 weapon, held within a police armoury, revealed that casings that matched that police weapon also matched casings found at the murder of two civilians from a previous time. He further disclosed that during a search of police premises, two weapons (revolvers) were found, which were recorded as being unaccounted for. A third weapon, which was found in a police drawer, had no record at all at the station.

"It's these examples that continue to give cause for concern for INDECOM as to the nature of some of these shootings, and a significant minority of dishonest officers [who] disproportionately impugn the majority of honest officers. This is creating a level of distrust that requires considerable remedy by the JCF to change," Campbell reasoned.