Blogger wants information on police ID numbers

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher. – File photo by Roger Jacob

A social activist and blogger has been permitted to pursue a claim against the Police Commissioner’s failure to provide him with information on how many police units are not required to display their regimental numbers on their uniform while on duty.

Last week, Justice Jacqueline Wilson granted leave to Sebastian Sankersingh who sought the information in August 2023.

He is seeking a declaration that Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher breached her statutory duty under the Freedom of Information Act to notify him of approval or refusal of his request, either as soon as practicable or not later than 30 days after the request was made as provided for by law.

Sankersingh wants an order to compel the commissioner to decide on his request or provide the information.

In his lawsuit, Sankersingh said the unreasonable delay was unlawful and unfair.

He said he advocates against police abuse and over the years, he recognised that many reported killings were purportedly being done by people said to be dressed in police uniform.

Sankersingh also said he was concerned about reports by citizens of police abuse and their inability to identify an officer because of the absence of their regimental number on their uniform.

In his lawsuit, Sankersingh has asked for copies of all departmental orders, policy documents or any other document authorising officers not to display their regimental numbers on their uniform.

He also said he intends to challenge any department order that authorised the wearing of uniform without the regimental number.

He is represented by attorneys Keron Ramkhalwhan and Anwar Hosein. The commissioner was ordered to pay Sankersingh’s legal costs of $10,000 for his judicial review application.