Assault top complaint against security forces
INDECOM offices

THE Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) is reporting that allegations of assault by the security forces was the highest-reported complaint by civilians during 2022, numbering 366.

According to the commission's fourth-quarter report for 2022, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, a total of 968 new complaints were received for 2022, which represents a nine per cent decrease over 2021.

Among the other major complaints were 228 related to the discharge of a firearm; 115 pertaining to fatal shootings; 83 for shooting injuries; 65 for unprofessional conduct; 58 for threats; 35 for destruction of property; 31 for neglect of duty; and 25 for death in custody.

Civilians also made complaints about illegal entry (23); harassment (15); unlawful wounding (12); illegal search (12); corruption (8); and sexual assault (8), among others.

The report stated that the majority of the complaints for the period were received for Kingston and St Andrew with 377, followed by St Catherine with 170, and St James with 73.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) accounted for 81 per cent of the complaints with 788. This figure, however, represents a decrease of 14 per cent over last year.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) had 108 complaints, which is an increase of 42 per cent; while the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) had 39, an increase of 34 per cent. Citizens also made 33 complaints against members involved in joint police/military operations.

Of the 886 reports completed by the commission's legal department for 2022 there were nine cases with recommendations for no charge, involving nine officers. There were 64 cases involving 95 officers where disciplinary action was recommended. In addition, five cases involving six officers were also recommended for charge and disciplinary action. The report further said 808 cases were unsubstantiated.

On the matter of rulings received from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) arising from INDECOM investigations there were 16 cases where charges were to be laid and 11 cases of no charge.

The JCF was the only State agency whose officers were charged for incidents investigated by INDECOM in 2022. A total of 15 members were charged during the period.

The commission's fourth-quarter report for 2022 reviews the patterns and practices in shooting incidents for January to December 2022, with comparative analysis for previous years. Issues relating to members of the security forces involved in fatal and non-fatal shooting incidents, off-duty shooting incidents, multiple-fatality shooting incidents, no gun/no weapon shooting incidents, and planned operations were also highlighted in the report.

Alecia Smith

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