PORT OF SPAIN – One hundred and fifty police officers from the rank of assistant commissioner of police to constable have been suspended from duty for varying criminal offences, ranging from murder to driving under the influence.
This figure was revealed yesterday by Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, who attended the weekly police news briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, during which he dealt specifically with reports of rogue officers committing acts of robbery.
Special Reserve Officer (SRP) Sean Joseph has been denied bail on a charge of robbing Chinese businessman Wei Hui Zhu of $406,000, an iPhone valued $7,000 and an FX Revolution air rifle valued $20,000, and before the robbery, he used personal violence towards Zhu on November 11 in Claxton Bay.
During the news briefing, reporters were also told other police officers allegedly involved have not been arrested although a video in the public domain showed more than one man in what appears to be police uniforms involved in the robbery.
Williams said these men may not have even been police officers.
Williams said the police will continue to “take a tough approach to any criminal conduct which is alleged against any police officer. The public is vesting trust in the Police Service and we must do nothing to undermine that trust”.
He further emphasised that “clear, decisive and timely action will be taken in every case to remove what we can describe as the rogue element from the Police Service”, as he explained changes to the heads of various divisions made within the last month as being another approach to fighting crime in the country.
Flanking him yesterday were ACP Crime Wayne Dick and Snr Supt in the Homicide Bureau Sasenarine Mahabir.
Dick gave an update into the investigation of the shooting death of the mother of a police officer, which occurred on November 4 in Piccadilly Street, Port of Spain.
He said so far, several people have been interviewed and the investigation is a collaboration between the Homicide Bureau and the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau.
On the morning of November 4, 71-year-old Felicia Dyer-
Francis was gunned down along Piccadilly Street, in the vicinity of Angie’s Roti Shop. She was the mother of PC Shawn Dyer, who had reported to the Besson Street police that his life, as well as that of his family, was being threatened.
He said he had been threatened because criminal elements believed he played a key role in recent raids conducted by officers of the Port of Spain Division, in which fire-
arms, ammunition and drugs were seized.
Responding to a question from the Express yesterday, Williams said he was okay with the sharing of videos which depicted offences being committed, admitting it has helped solve a number of cases such as the recent arrest and court appearance of a La Horquetta man who allegedly murdered his neighbour.
A video of Tuesday night’s shooting deaths of three men and the wounding of two during an incident in D’Abadie has been shared as well and is currently being examined by the police, with a view to solving the case.
Williams however advised that these social media videos be shared with the police first or as soon as possible before being uploaded to various sites.