The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum is concerned with the processes involving cases of police brutality.
The CCF Chief Executive Officer Ms. Louchrisha Hussain said that this arises from cases that have been reported in the media and concerns have been received by the organisation of those respective cases.
“It is troubling that some complainants of police brutality deal with lengthy processes where they find themselves left in the dark while trying to recover from physical injuries and psychological trauma,” Ms. Hussain said.
Ms. Hussain states that these complaints are matters of public interest and such allegations should be addressed efficiently with resources and time, as done so with other serious offences reported.
“We have in the past received complaints from members of the public that they have not been receiving updates or responses on the progress of their cases despite numerous requests made. There are also instances where complainants go out of their way to get information that would help with their case.”
The CCF states that due to the lack of response or progress communicated from authorities and constitutionally mandated institutions, complainants seek other avenues with the hopes of moving their cases forward.
“Quite often we are informed that due to the delay in the progress of investigations, a complainant loses interest and faith in pursuing their case with the very institutions that are entrusted to help them.”
She added that it is understandable that thorough independent investigations take time however, institutions responsible need to provide regular updates on the progress of cases to those concerned.
“Victims of police brutality have every right to be informed of the status of their cases and to seek redress as a form of closure and confidence in seeking justice.”
The CCF urges institutions to be efficient in their investigations on cases concerning police brutality and be more responsive to complainants.
“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, independent institutions must also progressively provide the public with information and statistics on such cases as this builds public confidence in the respective institutions.”
CCF commends the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for making available statistics on cases related to the subject matter.
According to the ODPP, statistics from 1 May 2015 to 30 April 2020 show that 110 Police and Military Officers were involved in various cases of assault and 290 were involved in other serious crimes. The CCF emphasizes that these are only cases which have been reported and documented.
The CCF strongly recommends that statistics should also show complaints received by institutions on alleged brutality cases involving law enforcement officers, number of complaints that have been closed with associated reasoning and conviction status of court cases.
Additionally, it is essential that all law enforcement officers undergo a regular systematic review of performance which should include; an assessment of behavior, mental capacity, conduct with members of the public, complaints received on respective officers and status of related investigations.
“These statistics and measures are critical in ensuring that any existing gaps in our own justice system are addressed and brutality acts by law enforcement officers are not repeated or tolerated.”
“We remind our law enforcers and institutions that they are responsible for the protection and safety of all citizens. Law enforcement officers involved in alleged brutality cases must be investigated without delay and held accountable for their actions.”