Traffic cops in ‘corrupt’ transactions; ‘flimsy’ excuses for search & arrest – Complaints Authority finds

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Police ranks continue to openly act in violation of the Constitution when executing their daily duties and oftentimes, this results in many operations yielding no results.

In his 2022 annual report, Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Justice (ret’d) William Ramlal said following investigations, a large percentage of ranks are unaware of their powers and functions outlined in the laws.

Justice Ramlal singled out traffic officers and said quite a few complaints have indicated that traffic ranks on the road perform their functions in a “corrupt” manner.

“Threats of arrest and detention are used to extract favours or rewards from road users. The good thing here is not all traffic ranks are involved in this type of behaviour,” Justice Ramlal outlined in the report.

Other violations investigated last year include the arrest and detention of members of the public for non-arrestable offences and unlawful stop and searches as well as the invasion of citizens’ homes in search of firearms and narcotics.

Since his appointment in September 2018, Justice Ramlal said investigations revealed that there was only one case where an Inspector was present when such a search was carried out for firearms.

The law mandates that a policeman not below the rank of an Inspector must be present when such an operation is being carried out.

Several investigations were also carried out against ranks who were part of searches for narcotics.

And according to Justice Ramlal, none of these cases yielded any result.

As a matter of fact, he stated in his report that these searches are conducted on the “flimsy” excuse that the police have information that narcotics are on the premises.

Additionally, in these searches, arrests and detention investigations, Justice Ramlal said it was found that there was “gross misconduct” which could attract civil liability.

And to prevent reoccurrences, Justice Ramlal has recommended that the Guyana Police Force put systems in place so that all of its ranks can be brought up to date with these Constitutional provisions.

The Police Complaints Authority is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints of misconduct by members of the Guyana Police Force.

The Authority is expected to foster greater public trust in the force by ensuring it is in conformity with human rights.

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