JIS News

The proposed National (Independent) Investigative Authority, which will investigate allegations of criminal conduct against the police, should be in place before the end of this legislative year.
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson provided details on the proposed unit on Wednesday (April 28), at the post-Budget press briefing at Jamaica House.
“The drafting instructions to create that body are being finalized, they will be presented to Cabinet by the end of May. On that basis Cabinet will give instructions for the law to be drafted and we hope that it will be ready for consideration by Parliament for the end of this legislative year,” he disclosed.
Justifying the establishment of this body, he pointed out, “however, zealous they may be in the performance of their duties, the public does not believe and is never likely to be convinced that the police will investigate themselves with the thoroughness and the impartiality which is required”.
The Prime Minister said that in the formation of the authority, the Government plans to combine all the investigative units into one central authority that will be available to serve the needs of the various Commissions that were already established and the public offices that existed.
He, however, noted that these bodies would however be retained. “We are not considering abolishing the capacity of the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC) to have investigators nor are we going to be merging the Political Ombudsman with the Public Defender. They will still exist,” he explained.
Mr. Patterson said that the National Investigative Authority would have the competence to call upon external expertise or other areas of professional specialization available in Jamaica.
He said that the Independent body would be comprised of persons who now served within the already established institutions and the possible recruitment of retired persons from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
Additionally, he said: “We will also be seeking to recruit young professional persons with the skills that are necessary”.
The Prime Minister also disclosed that steps would also be taken to improve the services of the Police Public Complaints Authority, which he said included the change of the name of that body to reflect its functions.
Mr. Patterson said that the body would also be relocated to an environment more conducive to the performance of the duties that it had to perform. Meanwhile, he said that there were also plans to increase the number of independent investigators.
“We will be vesting them with the powers of a Constable that enable them to require the proper conduct of investigations. They will be empowered to engage experts from within our own site, Jamaica, to provide assistance in the investigations of any crime, alleged committed by members of the security forces,” he said.

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