Established by an Act of Parliament five years ago, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) receives and processes complaints from the public against members of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
And with former High Court Judge, Justice LeRoy Inniss as Chairman, the Authority reviewed 94 complaints between April 18, 2007 and December 19, 2008.
Requests were made by the RBPF for the investigation of 49 complaints by the Police Complaints Authority between April 18, 2007 and January 30, 2009.
In 2006, 29 complaints were filed against the police at the offices of the Authority on the second floor of the S.P. Musson building, Hincks Street, Bridgetown. There were 53 in 2007 and 48 in 2008.
Meeting monthly, the Police Complaints Authority consists of Chairman Justice Inniss; Deputy Chairman Michael Beckles, an Attorney-at-Law; Medical Practitioner Dr. Raymond Forde; Head of the Civil Service Avril Gollop, G.C.M. ex officio member; Attorney-at-Law Cecil McCarthy Q.C. and Secretary Henderson Marshall, retired Legal Assistant at the Barbados National Bank.
Members, with the exception of the ex officio member, are appointed for three years; on expiration, they may be reappointed or there may be new appointments.
Though the norm is monthly, from time to time meetings are held more often in order to reduce the backlog of complaints filed at the Police Complaints Authority, which is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday.
The filing procedure is:
*A complainant must produce a valid form of picture identification when filing a complaint. This may be a national registration card, a passport or a driver’s licence.
*The complainant is required to complete a Police Complaints Statement Form and file it along with any other evidence which he or she wishes to submit in support of the complaint.
*It is then processed and a copy bearing the official stamp of the Police Complaints Authority is given to the complainant.
*The Authority reviews a synopsis of the complaint; a letter of acknowledgment is sent to the complainant and the Authority then determines how the complaint will be dealt with.
*Complainants may be requested to attend interviews with the Authority and are required to sign an official log book to confirm their attendance.
*When a request for the investigation of a complaint against the police is made by the Authority, copies of the Police Complaints Statement Form, synopsis and any other evidence (if applicable) are then forwarded to the Commissioner of Police.
*The Police Complaints Authority reviews the Commissioner’s response, informs the complainant of the findings and the Authority’s decision.
*If the complaint no longer wishes to pursue the previous request for investigation of a complaint against a member or members of the Royal Barbados Police Force after the initial review of the Authority, he/she may do so by signing a "Statement Confirming Discontinuation of Filed Complaint" at the Police Complaints Authority.