Thursday 23 November, 2017

Search warrant video under probe by PCA

The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) says it is investigating a video showing police officers executing a search warrant at a woman's home which was sent to them via their mobile app.

The video shows heavily armed police trying to gain entry into the woman's home while she frantically requests to see the address on the warrant several times.

An officer can be heard telling the woman they had a warrant to search the premises for firearms, ammunition and for certain people.

The officers could be seen breaking windows and damaging the property while the woman continues to insist on seeing the warrant.

Several times, the woman is warned by the officers that she did not have permission to videotape them.

One shouted at the woman to open her door while yet another warned her not to post the video on social media or she would get "a letter from the High Court".

The video has angered many on social media who criticised the officers' handling of the matter. 

"What was so hard to just show the woman the warrant? So police can just break into your house without showing you a warrant?" one person asked.

Another commenter added: "This is an abuse of authority. This is why the public don't respect police. The police need to show respect too."

Others questioned whether the woman would be compensated for the damages to her home.

Earlier this year, Senior Supt Radcliffe Boxhill assured the public that they would be compensated for damages, once they could prove the damage was done by police.

He made the comments at a town meeting in Laventille, where residents complained about police kicking down their doors in search of illegal items.

Boxhill said persons should take photographic evidence of the damage, and document the officers names, vehicle numbers or any other relevant information.

But he said compensation would only be given in cases where police damaged property in search of illegal items but none was present.

Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds had also stated that a fund should be set up by government for compensation to be made to persons whose property is damaged by police in the conduct of their duties.