Adrian Frater, News Editor
An eerie cloud of embarrassment is now hanging over the St James Police Division following news on Tuesday that a prisoner, who had escaped from the Freeport lock-up in Montego Bay in late January, was recaptured at the home of a policewoman on Sunday.
"Well … I have to admit that it is true," said Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Devon Watkis, the commanding officer for Area One, which includes the parish of St James. "The Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) released a statement today giving as much detail as we are able to provide at this time.
"We are aware that sections of the media have been calling (police officers') names, but we have not released any names to date," continued Watkis. "What we have said and what I can confirm is that the policewoman in question and two other police personnel were arrested as a result of the incident."
The CCN release from Karl Angell, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's director of communication, stated that a prisoner charged for several crimes in St James, Hanover and Westmoreland, who escaped from the Freeport lock-up in late January, was recaptured at the home of a policewoman, who was subsequently arrested.
According to the CCN, the circumstances surrounding the escape of the prisoner, whose name was not released, prompted the police's Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) and the St James police to conduct a top-level investigation into the possibility that police personnel assisted the prisoner to escape custody.
It is believed that it was that investigation which led ACB detectives to the home of the policewoman and later resulted in the arrest of her colleagues.
MAY NEED ID PARADE
"We know that the public might be anxious to hear all the details, but this is an ongoing investigation and it is at a delicate stage, so we can't say too much at this time," said ACP Watkis. "Based on what we have discovered so far, there might be a need for an identification parade, among other things."
Pressed as to whether the policewoman, who was named in an uncorroborated media report, was in anyway involved, ACP Watkis firmly declared that he did not intend to become the subject of a lawsuit.
"I have heard a name being called but I would not even repeat it," he said. "I am urging members of the media to be careful in what they report because if they make the wrong call, they could find themselves in legal trouble."
The current situation, which has attracted a lot of public attention, mirrors an incident that took place at the same police station close to a decade ago. In that instance, one of the nation's most wanted men, who was deported from the United States and was facing multiple-murder charges, promptly went to live with a policewoman upon his release from lock-up.