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Punished by police though guilty of no crime

Published:Saturday | December 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Punished by police though guilty of no crime

This is an open letter to Dr Carl Williams, the commissioner of police.

On November 12, 2014, I went to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) recruitment centre in Kingston to sign up for membership in the force. I filled out a form, a section required me to state if I had ever been arrested by the police. I wrote 'yes' in the space.

A policewoman in uniform took me into a room and asked me what I had been arrested for. I told her that in 2007, I was arrested by the police for aiding and abetting carnal abuse involving a relative. I also explained that the judge dismissed the case in 2010.

The officer told me that it was against JCF policy to admit into the force persons whom they have arrested or charged. I left the building, took advice, and then telephoned her and asked why I couldn't join the JCF when I was not convicted. She told me that if it had been a traffic offence, she would have allowed me to sit the test. Since that day, I can't stop wondering why people in this country have to suffer for things for which they are not guilty.

I am asking you, Sir, to give this matter an urgent review. Several members of the JCF, including the officer who arrested me, have told me that once the judge has dismissed the case, the arrest should not be used against me.

My grandfather was a respectable district constable, and I believe that if I am a member of the JCF, I will receive similar respect in my community, and also put myself in a position to contribute to the security of my country. Again, Sir, please give this matter some attention so that other persons will not be punished for committing no crimes.