Hamish Campbell and Terrence Williams
The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) says investigations have revealed that the scenario of planted firearms still remain a troubling feature of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
Speaking at a Quarterly media briefing Thursday morning, Hamish Campbell, Assistant Commissioner of INDECOM, said recent inquiries into police fatal shootings raise concern that the allegation still exists.
"We have examples of a firearm being recovered at a scene which had been previously in the possession of the police at an earlier instant when it had been seized; two instances where guns have been recovered from a fatal shooting when those weapons have already been submitted to the police laboratory in respect of a previous shooting - one as recently as 2018. And in those matters of course, there are witnesses who claim an alleged planting and the weapon seems to indicate some mishandling there," Mr. Campbell outlined.
He revealed that a yet another firearm already in police custody records has been found on a crime scene during INDECOM investigations.
"Ballistic examination of a police MP5 weapon held within a police armoury revealed that casings that which matched that police weapon also matched casings found at two civilian murders from a previous time," he revealed.
"The matters require considerable examination of police records which is very difficult if not impossible, despite the continued assistance of BSI to try to prove these records and the weapons," said assistant commissioner.
Mr. Campbell added that INDECOM's investigations have revealed that two guns that were unaccounted for were found in the possession of the police.
"It's these examples which continue to give cause and concern for INDECOM as to the nature of some of these shootings and a significant minority of dishonest officers disproportionately impune the majority of honest officers; and it is this that is creating a level of distrust which requires considerable remedy by the JCF," he lamented.
Meanwhile, INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams said there are instances where guns recorded in the police database are later found in the hands of gunmen.
He also raised concern about unaccounted for spent shells found in offices at police stations. These, he said, can be easily planted to corrupt crime scenes.
He said these examples highlight the need for proper record keeping for weapons recovered by the police.