Human rights advocate Yvonne McCalla-Sobers says legislation is needed to prevent contamination of evidence at scenes of fatal shootings in order to strengthen the work of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).
She made the recommendation as she assessed the work of the two-year-old office, while speaking with The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre this morning. INDECOM was established in 2010 following a rigorous lobby by advocates for an independent body to investigate the police's use of force.
But Mrs McCalla-Sobers argues, two years after its establishment, that INDECOM needs to be given more powers to do its job effectively.
She says the high number of fatal shootings by the police since the start of the year is an indication that INDECOM is not as effective. About 22 people have been shot and killed by the police since the start of 2013.
The advocate adds that poor record keeping by the police continues to impact on INDECOM’s efforts to collect quality evidence. She laments that station diaries and firearm and ammunition registries are unreliable.
Mrs McCalla Sobers says any personnel accused of tampering with evidence at the scene of a fatal shooting should be charged and also face police disciplinary action. She says the officer supervising the operation should also be held accountable.