Federation backs constable in row with senior cop
The Police Federation is backing a constable who claimed that he was assigned to cell duty by a senior officer who discarded a traffic ticket that the policeman had issued to a motorist. The federation, which represents police personnel from the rank of constable to inspectors, has vowed that it will be "definitely taking the matter further."
Sergeant Arlene McBean, chairman of the Police Federation, revealed in a voice message to members that her executive had met with the commanding officer and discussed the allegations made by the constable.
"We discussed the matter at length. We pointed out areas of fault, areas where we believe he [erred], and where we know that there is no authority to do whatever act was done," McBean said in the voice message.
But when contacted by The Gleaner, McBean said that the voice message "was sent specifically to the rank-and-file members, not to the media.
"So for you to call as an external person to verify, ... I am wondering how that voice note would have reached in the media space because I never did any interview with any media house about the incident that you just asked about," said McBean.
The incident has left rank-and-file police personnel fuming. One corporal, who requested anonymity, suggested that the commanding officer's alleged action raises question about perverting the course of justice.
"Once an officer writes a ticket, it's a matter for the court or the DPP (director of public prosecutions) to stop it, not a superintendent or even the commissioner [of police]," the corporal stated.
SCOLDED FOR ISSUING TICKET
According to the constable, the incident happened inside the commander's office on March 25, a day after he had prosecuted the motorist for not having a valid certificate of fitness for the vehicle that he was driving, based on Section 10.1 of the Road Traffic Act. But in the presence of the motorist, the commanding officer upbraided the constable for issuing such a ticket, according to a report that the constable wrote to his immediate supervisor.
The constable further alleged that following the incident, the commander gave instructions that he should be taken off front-line duties, attend probationary lectures twice weekly for three months, and be assigned to cell duties for three months.
He has since requested a transfer, stating that he was "not comfortable under the leadership of this commander since I have lost confidence in his ability to lead.
"His actions, whilst in the meeting, left me feeling embarrassed ... and I feel I am being punished for the lawful execution of my duty," the constable complained to his immediate supervisor in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Gleaner.