New police interview system coming
PEOPLE ACCUSED of rape, murder, and robberies will be the first to have their statements to lawmen recorded using the ten newly outfitted interview suites at police stations across the island.
This was among the revelations Friday from Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite as he led debate on the Evidence Amendment Bill 2014 in the House of Assembly.
Amid claims that police obtained confessions from accused through beatings and other foul means, the Attorney General said the move should significantly reduce those allegations.
Moreover, Brathwaite disclosed too that victims of serious crimes may soon not be required to go to police stations to participate in identification parades and confront accused persons face to face.
These were among the developments outlined by the St Philip South Member of Parliament as Brathwaite lead debate on the bill.
He also told members of the Lower House that police had been experiencing challenges getting people to take part in police line-ups despite the stipend that was given for their participation.
As a result, he said that police had found a remedy in the form an electronic system Profile Matching System that will allow identification parades to take place without always requiring the victim’s presence at a police station.
Brathwaite told the Lower House that with the Profile Matching System, a victim who was hospitalised, for example, or could not make it to a police station, could still be allowed to identify a criminal suspect.
The Attorney General said suspects would still have the right to an attorney, while minor would still be allowed to have a parent or guardian present.
He said the Profile Matching System was in use in Britain and Bermuda for many years.
On another issue related to the Evidence Amendment Bill, Brathwaite said a number of police officers had been trained to conduct electronic recording of statements from suspects.
However, he lamented that despite the training of lawmen some years ago several police stations had not have facilities to actually undertake the recordings, while the law had not been adjusted to accept this form of evidence in court.
“We set about the process of retrofitting several of our police stations and today there are ten police stations that are outfitted with interview suites. Two at Oistins, one at District “E”, one at District “C”, one at District “A”, one at CID Central, one at Black Rock, one at Crab Hill, one at District “F”, one at the Glebe and one at Board Hall, District “B”,” the Attorney General disclosed.
In addition to providing retraining for police officers, he explained that regulations also had to be issued so that the rights of people being interviewed were protected.
Through electronic recording of statements, Brathwaite said he expected that the number of accused persons claiming their confessions were obtained through less than fair means would be reduced. (GE)