Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Rogue cop rip-off - Dance promoters say they pay police big bucks to allow parties to continue

Published:Sunday | December 6, 2015 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson
Partygoers at a recent street dance in the Corporate Area.

There are fresh complaints from party promoters in the Corporate Area and St Catherine that rogue cops are demanding up to $20,000 to allow events to continue beyond the allowed 2 a.m. cut-off time.

According to the promoters of sessions in some inner-city communities, paying off the cops is part of the expected expense to keep a party and they even plan liquor for these policemen and women.

"You are having a party and you want it go until daylight, or even past 2 o'clock, you have to be prepared to give the police dem a thing," said a popular promoter in the Corporate Area.

According to the promoter, whose name is being withheld, he spends anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000 to ensure that the cops allow his session to continue beyond the established cut-off time.

"By right, the party is supposed to finish at 2 o'clock and everybody get to go home so people can get to go to work in the morning. But the people them not coming out until 2 o'clock. And that is when the police usually want to come and lock down the party," said the promoter.

He said that in some cases, the amount to be paid is arranged with senior officers at the local police station in his community days before the event. On the day of the event, the officer sends one or two patrolling officers to collect the money.

"They know who working that night, so they know who will come and collect the money. And they know how them share it up," said the promoter, who, while accepting the illegality of his action, said it was the only way he was able to make a profit from his entertainment events.

The promoter said that he was so familiar with members of the leadership of the police in his community that he could arrange the deal for other promoters.

"It makes sense because when you spend money and promote your party and at 2 o'clock, when less than 20 people is there, the police come and lock it off, you lose," he continued, shrugging his shoulders in indifference.

 

'No proof'

 

Last week, Robert Hill, town clerk at the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC), told our news team that he had heard of the police collecting money to allow parties to continue after the slated end time allowed by the permit but that this was outside the remit of the municipal body.

"I have heard some reports of that, but I have never heard or seen any evidence that it is so," said Hill.

"I have heard only statements, which I have heard over and over, but I have never had any proof of that," added Hill.

Head of the St Andrew North Police Division Superintendent Jacqueline Green said that she had never heard of cops being paid not to shut down parties at the scheduled time.

"The Noise Abatement Act states until 2 a.m., so I will stick to the law as it relates to the 2 a.m. lock-off time," said Green.

"No. I have never got that report. We have our list of all the permits that are granted for the division, and the police within the local areas are to monitor and lock off at 2 a.m., failing which they are to take the appropriate action," added Green.

 

Cops meet with promoter

 

However, our news team recently witnessed two members of the force allowing a Corporate Area dance to continue beyond the 2 a.m. cut-off time after a private meeting with the promoter.

In this instance, the cops arrived at the party shortly after 3 a.m. and ordered the selector to shut down the music. As is common at such events, the selector summoned the promoter, who then escorted the cops out of the venue.

Minutes later, the promoter returned and instructed the selector to turn the music back on, allowing the party to continue until daylight. This occurred in the St Andrew South Police Division, and head of the division, Senior Superintendent Richard Stewart, later admitted that he had heard of policemen being bribed by party promoters.

"Yes, I have heard of it, and if that is so, then that is corruption and will be treated like any other corruption allegation. I have not had that complaint of any of my officers officially, though," said Stewart as he warned that the police under his command would be sticking to the 2 a.m. cut-off time for parties this Christmas.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com