Police Commissioner Erla Harewood- Christopher has ordered that a woman be investigated for the inappropriate use of a police officer’s uniform.
A video appeared on social media on Sunday showing the woman at a social gathering wearing a police officer’s jacket around her waist and in an open-buttoned fashion. The woman also wore a black short pants and a grey vest with a jacket. She was drinking from a cup and bottles of alcohol could be seen in the background of the video.
Head of the Northern Division, Senior Superintendent Kerwin Francis confirmed to Guardian Media that his division along with the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) will be spearheading the investigation.
“What I can tell you is that the video and its contents came to our attention via social media last night (Sunday) and based on its circulation the Commissioner of Police mandated that an investigation be done.”
At the time of the interview, Francis said they were yet to ascertain if the woman is a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) or where and when the incident took place. He said their findings will be made public “in due course.”
But the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) is livid by what transpired.
President of the association, Gideon Dickson, said while their information suggests the woman in question is a civilian, if she is an officer, her actions are disheartening and disrespectful.
“In either instance or how you look at it, it does not send the right message to both the internal customers or the external, it isn’t the type of image we are looking for at this point in time. She not being a police officer simply means being in possession and purporting to be an officer is an offence and she must be brought to justice to answer that charge. And if it was a police officer, we are saying that we cannot condone the portrayal of the uniform in that manner, it is not in keeping with our standing orders and it does nothing to boost or win back public confidence.”
Dickson added that members of the public who know the woman or even if they have information on who lent her the uniform, should inform the relevant authorities. He told Guardian Media if the latter is the case, officers should remember that they are supposed to take pride in their uniform.
“The uniform is to be worn with a level of professionalism; it must show respect, where even if you are not speaking, it should speak for you.”
Section 62 of the Police Service Act states that a person who, without the consent of the Police Commissioner, puts on, either in whole or in part of the uniform or in any way pretends to be a police officer, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $30,000 and to imprisonment for three years.
Meanwhile, The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has also initiated an investigation into the matter.
In a statement yesterday, the PCA said it is dedicated to promoting public confidence in the Trinidad and Tobago justice system and is inviting members of the public to share any information they may have related to the investigation.