Police bus scam - Cop and two others held in Hanover motor-vehicle racket
Nagra Plunkett, Assignment Coordinator
The Ramble Police Station in Hanover has been placed under the microscope of the Anti-Corruption Branch, which is probing reports that the station was the nerve centre of a major motor-vehicle racket in the parish.
The Gleaner understands that several vehicles being kept as court exhibits mysteriously disappeared from the station yard and turned up in the possession of civilians.
At press time, a senior police-man and two civilians had been taken into custody at the Lucea Police Station and were being questioned in connection with the racket.
Since last weekend, investigators have reportedly recovered at least nine buses that were removed from the Ramble station.
Yesterday, the Police High Command confirmed the detention of the three persons of interest, but was reluctant to provide details on the case.
"The geographical layout of the station makes it impossible for the protected vehicles to leave without passing the main police building," a police source told The Gleaner. "The situation shows great flaws in the system of accountability of government property, which includes exhibits that form cases that are before the court."
The police source added: "The buses on the compound are to be entered in the exhibit register at the station and should be checked and accounted for daily at the station, as well as periodically, at the divisional level."
The buses in question date back to a busted stolen motor-vehicle ring in Hanover about three years ago. Subsequent to the disposal of the court case, several complainants were reportedly unable to retrieve their vehicles and the matter was brought to the attention of the authorities.
The Police High Command has initiated an aggressive drive to rid the force of corrupt police, with almost 10 being detained since the start of the year. Last year, more than 60 were arrested while others were retired in the public's interest.
Last Thursday, a police sergeant was arrested in connection with the seizure of 19 guns and 11,000 rounds of ammunition at premises on Munster Road in St Andrew.
On Wednesday, the police revealed that three members of the Island Special Constabulary Force and a constable in the Jamaica Constabulary Force were held for alleged breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.