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Over $50m a year in pay for rogue cops

Published: 
Monday, October 1, 2018
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Photo by:Alex Kelly

Rogue police officers are costing the state more than $50 million a year. At present there are more than 300 police officers currently on suspension being paid as much as three quarters of their salary.

Information from the Communications Department of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) shows that between 2011 and 2018 some 157 police officers were charged with criminal offences and have matters pending in court.

In May, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) said in just six months it had investigated 361 complaints about bad behaving police officers from members of the public. Those complaints were filed between October 2017 and March 2018 but only 17 of then were submitted to then acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams

The PCA said four cases were sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and one file was sent to the Police Service Commission (PSC). However, no action has been taken in 339 of the matters.

Rhe Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) of the TTPS received some 444 reports and complaints which led to the 157 charges laid against officers. As long as those matters are not resolved in the courts, the officers will continue to earn a portion of their salary and could even collect their full benefits when they retire.

President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Inspector Michael Seales said depending on the charges, some officers can still receive their full salary even while in prison.

“It can be three quarter or half, it can be a full salary,” Seales said.

In 2011, six police officers were held for the killing of three people in Moruga. That matter is expected to be heard next month.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, who is cracking down on the $25 million overtime bill in the TTPS, said delay with cases against police officers is one thing and totally separate from the TTPS.

He said officers who breached serious laws and committed acts that should warrant a tribunal tarnished the image of the TTPS.

“Some of the actions we’ve uncovered should amount to more than a suspension and three quarter pay,” he said.

“I do not have to wait on the courts to decide on suspended officers. I have the authority to suspend and fire.”

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