THE Independent Investigations Commission (INDECOM) wants relatives of alleged victims of policemen's bullets to visit their offices as they review some 158 'cold case files'.
Head of INDECOM's Special Cases Unit Paul Dunn said the cases, some dating as far back as 2010, are being reviewed with the hope of securing justice for families still mourning loved ones killed by the police.
"What the commissioner has deemed necessary is that we review those 158 cases, and that is what our team is now doing," said Dunn, explaining that the cases were among 412 passed on to INDECOM by the now defunct Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) — the police body formerly charged with investigating police shootings.
"We are now trying desperately to find relatives, close friends of persons who may have died in these fatal shootings to see if they have any additional information that can cause the cases to move forward," he said.
"We are asking relatives whose loved ones were killed during 2010 and thereabouts, who have not heard anything about the case to come into our offices. We will try to restart those investigations."
Dunn explained that the cases have been listed as 'cold' as no development had been made with them over the last year or two years. In many instances, he said, witnesses may not have turned up to court hearings.
"In many instances, cases [of police killings] would have started because you would have a report from the initial investigator. What we need to find now are family members, witnesses, a good friend who can say: 'Yes, I was present and I saw 'Mr So and So' shot by the police," he explained.
"We at INDECOM want you to know that the case is not dead. If you can come forward and tell us about it, give us information, then we will see how we can go forward."
INDECOM investigates actions by members of the security forces and other agents of the state that result in abuse, death or injury to civilians. When such investigations are closed, INDECOM then sends its findings to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a ruling.
But while INDECOM's decision serves to strengthen relatives' chances of security justice for their slain loved ones, Dunn confessed, however, that the move will take a toll on the state agency's investigatory capacities.
INDECOM has five investigation teams islandwide. The Special Cases Unit comprises seven members, inclusive of one senior investigator, said Dunn, noting that the unit deals with special projects. Against that background, the unit is not as burdened by day-to-day incidents of police shootings as the other teams.