Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said with respect to the allegations of fraud surrounding ACP Irwin Hackshaw and the call for disciplinary action to be taken against him as the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) independent investigation is coming to an end, he is not to be bullied into taking any action.
Griffith is also questioning “What public interest? How is an internal disciplinary matter in the public interest?”
In a media release issued by the TTPS, Griffith questioned if it is the “same public interest that caused the PCA to recommend that I suspend officers without as much as an interview, far less an investigation?”
“That’s not public interest, it’s manipulation and bullying and I shall not be bullied!” Griffith said.
“It seems the PCA has granted unto itself powers it simply does not have. Internal disciplinary matters are not the remit of the PCA, “ Griffith added.
“Is it that public interest is defined by any accusation made by the media?” he said.
Griffith said he is extremely disappointed with the alleged conduct of PCA head David West.
“How can providing the public with a ball-by-ball update of an investigation which according to Mr West himself, is incomplete but nearing an end be in the public interest?” Griffith said.
“If the PCA is confident of its criminal case then why exactly does it matter to them that not only we discipline ACP Irwin Hackshaw, but that we do it with haste to ensure he doesn’t retire. If the investigation that is nearing an end is justiciable then Mr Hackshaw will face the full brunt of the law, “ he added.
Griffith, somewhat perplexed rhetorically said: “Can I as Commissioner of Police investigate a person and provide daily updates as to what has been found and what I recommend etc? Is that considered proper in Mr West’s world? And if it is, why is he not updating the media and the public with the details of his almost complete criminal investigation of ACP Hackshaw?”
Griffith spewed anger as he reminded members of the public that he “shouldn’t be surprised however as this is the same David West that labeled an entire Police Service the biggest gang in Trinidad and Tobago.”
“I have no intention of debating proper procedure with Mr West. All I shall say is that no one can force me or the TTPS to act in a manner contrary to law and due process, “ Griffith said.
“The PCA can feel free to send out
as many press releases as it chooses. I will act responsibly and in accordance with the law, “ he added.
Three days ago the TTPS openly and willingly accepted the PCA’s recommendation to proceed with disciplinary proceedings against Hackshaw, however, said that such proceedings are also subject to due process.
The TTPS explained that a tribunal will be set up if possible, and the process will unfold consistent with every other tribunal undertaken within the police service, “The TTPS continues to seek Senior Counsel’s advice on how and if we may be able to proceed.”
“This matter is therefore engaging our active attention,” the TTPS said.
It added that whilst it appreciate that the PCA, as a public independent body, has its job to do and that they are well within their rights to report to the national community through the media, the TTPS “also must be clear that the PCA recommendation in and of itself, is not an assumption of guilt on the part of Mr Hackshaw.”
“The TTPS cannot therefore simply move to discipline Mr Hackshaw in an arbitrary manner. There is a process spelt out in the Police Service Regulations which must be followed,” the release added.
On Friday, the PCA called on the Police Service to commence disciplinary proceedings against Hackshaw as its independent investigation into reported allegations of unusual financial transactions is nearing completion.
On March 9, the PCA began an independent investigation into reported allegations of unusual financial transactions involving Hackshaw.
The actions are subject to an investigation into criminal offences, that is nearing completion and serious police misconduct. The PCA completed the investigation into serious police misconduct on August 6, 2020 and referred the evidence gathered together with a recommendation for disciplinary proceedings to be instituted, to Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith,.
In a release issued on Friday, the PCA said that “commencement of the recommended disciplinary proceedings is especially urgent as Mr Hackshaw begins official retirement from 9th November, 2020 after which the TTPS will not have the authority to conduct disciplinary hearings.”
“The PCA is aware of Regulation 156(4) of the Police Service Regulations 2007 (the PSR) which states that, “the investigating officer shall hold an office higher than that of the officer concerned.” In the instant case, ACP Hackshaw is the most senior officer in the TTPS, except for the CoP. We hope that this issue can be resolved so that the disciplinary procedure can commence,” the PCA said.
It also disclosed that its team of Investigators interviewed several witnesses, recorded witness statements and considered documentary evidence.
The PCA disclosed that Hackshaw was given the opportunity to respond to questions by way of a written statement, or, participate in an interview conducted by PCA Investigators with his Attorney-at-Law or any other personal representative present, however, added that he (Hackshaw) refused to accept the letter informing him of same.
“The evidence gathered supports the allegation that Mr. Hackshaw accepted paid employment, or, undertook private work without approval, in breach of Regulation 133(b) and in contravention of Regulations 150(1); (2)(a); (c) and (d)(i) of the PSR,” the PCA release stated.
PCA Director, Mr. David West said: “Given the importance of strengthening community trust and confidence in law enforcement, the PCA calls for immediate action by the TTPS in this matter which concerns one of its senior officers.”