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WIKILEAKS: Senior cops fail lie detector tests

Published:Thursday | July 7, 2011 | 3:15 PM

Several former and current senior members of the police force failed lie detector tests conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in late 2008 and early 2009.



The tests were ordered by then police commissioner, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, who was concerned about the level of corruption in the senior ranks of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.



Details of the high failure rate in the polygraph review of senior members of the force are contained in a March 2009 diplomatic cable from the United States Embassy in Kingston, and acquired by The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre through whistle blowing media entity, WikiLeaks.



According to the cable, some senior officers, including a then Deputy Commissioner, refused to take the test while a high percentage of those who did failed.



The cable said the first group, consisting of ten officers, was tested in late 2008. Nine passed the test.



Those who passed included then Assistant Commissioner Owen Ellington, who has since been appointed to the top job in the Force.



When the second test was arranged in February 2009, 48 officers were scheduled to face the examiners but only 40 agreed to do the test.



However, on the day in question, only 38 turned up.



Of that group 21 failed and only 17 passed.



The US Embassy cable said it was told by the Chief RCMP officer in Kingston, that the tests were extremely thorough and were a combination of a standard lifestyle polygraph along with a forensic examination where it was suspected that crimes had been committed.



The average exam length was six to nine hours and the Canadians said it revealed telling cultural anomalies among some officers, who admitted to extra-judicial killings, but believed that their actions were justice.



According to the cable Lewin had said the officers who failed the lie detector tests would be given the opportunity to make a choice to uphold the law or leave the force.



However, the Canadians could not say what Lewin actually did with the findings, which came at, what the Embassy cable described as, a time when he was under pressure from members of the force, who supported the governing Jamaica Labour Party, and who believed he was blocking their political promotions.



Lewin was to resign less than eight months later after Prime Minister Bruce Golding indicated that he had lost confidence in his ability to lead the fight against crime.