Browne: Police uniforms to be stamped with owner’s name, number

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A policeman keeps watch as customers wait to enter InstaMobile store for a sale on cell phones on Frederick Street, Port of Spain on Friday. – Anisto Alves

ALL police uniforms and items will carry their owner’s name and regimental number, said Senate leader Dr Amery Browne speaking for National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds in answering a question in the Senate. He said audits were under way into police-issued items, after public concerns about their possible misuse in crimes. The police will also meet private security companies over outfits resembling police uniforms, Browne said.

Opposition Senator Wade Mark had asked what the Government was doing against an increase in police equipment being found in the possession of criminals.

Browne said not all such items marked with the words or logo “police” found at crime scenes were necessarily the property of the police service (TTPS).

Nonetheless the police were taking several steps to address the issue of police equipment being found at crime scenes, as advised by Police Commissioner Erla Christopher. This included full probes into all cases of such items found, to determine their ownership and source.

He added, “An audit of all arms and ammunition issued to divisions, branches, sections and units of the TTPS. Thus far no irregularities have been identified, but the process remains ongoing.” Browne promised a review of TTPS procurement practices on firearms and ammunition.

He announced a review of the TTPS standing orders or rules on distributing of items of uniform and ensuring all officers were made aware of this, so as to properly secure their kit and uniform. Browne promised an audit of all items of police uniforms issued, to be concluded in the near future.

“It is expected that any discrepancies identified by the audit will be thoroughly investigated and forwarded to the (TTPS) Complaints Division for consideration and appropriate disciplinary action as necessary.

“Additionally, the commissioner has further advised that instructions have been given for the ascribing of all items of uniform assigned to police officers with their full name and regimental number, to facilitate proper identification and tracking of these items in the near future.”

He gave another measure. “The TTPS also plans to hold discussions with security companies as it relates to the use of uniforms resembling that of the TTPS.”

Mark asked if the Government would establish an independent forensic criminal audit into this matter but Browne replied that several audits were now under way. He said no irregularities have been found so far, but if any were found, then further action would be taken.

Asked about any completion date for these investigations, Browne said that was impossible to say because it depended on the informed received, items found and evidence. He said it was ongoing, to hopefully be concluded “in the near future.”