Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has said that he has openly and willingly accepted the recommendation by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to proceed with disciplinary proceedings against ACP Irwin Hackshaw but added that such proceedings are also subject to due process.
However, Griffith said the recommendation that he be the one to carry out the PCA’s request, is not feasible.
A statement by the TTPS said that a tribunal will be set up if possible, and the process will unfold consistently with every other tribunal undertaken within the police service.
The statement said the TTPS is seeking Senior Counsel advice on the matter.
“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.
Griffith indicated in the said release, that the PCA’s press release “cannot, will not and, I hope, is not intended to pressure the TTPS to act in contravention of the law.”
He added, “It is important that we not allow this matter and its narrative, as it relates to Mr Irwin Hackshaw, to develop into an attack on the integrity of the TTPS. It is equally important to remind all that this matter was based on an allegation of criminal conduct on the part of the Assistant Commissioner of Police.”
Griffith explained that as a result of the widened scope, the PCA unearthed “what they believe to be a prima facie case for disciplinary action against Mr Hackshaw involving conducting private business while in the employ of the TTPS without the permission of the Commissioner of Police.”
Griffith added that this is not a criminal offence and will, therefore, be handled internally.
“As Commissioner of Police, I consider this matter to be very serious and have accepted the findings in total. In fact, I consider the recommendations of the PCA to be reasonable and cogent. It is my intention to act upon these recommendations as soon as reasonably possible,” Griffith said.
But, he added that there is a conundrum before him since the Police Service Regulations state that the investigating officer shall hold an office higher than that of the officer concerned.
He noted that since there are no Deputy Commissioners of Police, the only officer of higher rank is he as Commissioner.
“It, therefore, creates a problem as the Commissioner of Police will also have to decide Mr Hackshaw’s fate and act upon any punishment (if necessary) deemed to be appropriate. The matter is further complicated by the fact that all officers either at Mr Hackshaw’s rank or senior to Mr Hackshaw are witnesses in the matter. This includes myself as Commissioner of Police. It means, therefore, as Commissioner, I will be literally the judge, the jury and the executioner. This I cannot do, as it will both be in complete violation of Mr Hackshaw’s rights as well as being patently illegal,” Griffith said.
He disclosed that he has been in communication on this matter with the Police Service Commission, where he explained his dilemma and “have also been urging that the appointment of substantive DCPs be made urgently as this is only but one issue that is impeded by the non-appointment of substantive DCPs.”