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Police in the Eastern Division say while a probe into the conduct of several police officers is ongoing, they take allegations of misconduct seriously.
Earlier this week a video was circulated on social media which appeared to show officers assigned to a police station in east Trinidad entering a businessplace and taking cash from a counter.
Text circulated with the video alleged the officers were extorting money from the business owner.
Media releases from the police and Police Complaints Authority (PCA) earlier this week said an investigation into the incident had been launched .
Contacted for comment, an Eastern Division officer said the police would investigate all allegations of corruption, but believed the actions of the officers were part of a legitimate police exercise.
The officer added that the videos circulated did not show everything the police did.
“Those videos are not complete in the sense that (they) only show part of what would have transpired.
“The fact is that the people (shown in the video) were arrested and are before the court on these matters. These were legitimate operations.
“Up to yesterday there were people who appeared in court for illegal gambling in Mayaro.
“In situations like these, they count the money in the presence of the person who is being investigated, to ensure the amount of money being entered as evidence is the same as what was in the businessplace. And then the police will take possession of the cash. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”
The officer said the cash seized in the video was still accounted for.
Another officer said investigations of misbehaviour were taken seriously, and thorough enquiries were necessary to protect both the police and the public.
“The executive in that division will always deal with these allegations and treat with it accordingly, if any wrongdoing was found on the part of officers.
“It’s not something to hide and pretend as if we don’t see. Every allegation should be investigated. It protects the police to ensure that they acted professionally, and also the person making the claim.”
Contacted for comment, president of the Eastern Business and Merchants Association (EBMA) Ricardo Mohammed said the video and claims were concerning to the business community, but stressed the need for a thorough and complete investigation before he could comment.
“We have worked together with the police on many occasions as the business community, and really have the utmost respect for the TTPS in doing the right thing almost all of the time. But in every organisation (there is) some form of corruption or rogue elements. And we do hope that this is investigated thoroughly and if anyone is guilty of wrongdoing, the necessary action will be taken.”
Asked if there had been any complaints from businesspeople over extortion by corrupt police and criminals, Mohammed said while there were rumours, he had not heard any confirmed reports of these activities from his organisation’s members.