Forbes’ escape probe is internal matter – DCP Rodney

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The likelihood of a public revelation of the findings of an investigation into how multiple-murder accused Delano Forbes escaped police custody is unclear, with the force asserting that such probes are normally not for public consumption.
The 23-year-old Forbes, whose legs were shackled at the time, fled from officers in the Swetes area last Monday after reportedly jumping from “a cliff.” He was reportedly accompanied by five officers, three of them from the Serious Crimes Unit, and the other two were photographers. The team was said to be looking for evidence in connection with one of the murders with which Forbes has been charged.
“Most internal investigations are not public information. It’s not a matter of any cover-up, but most times when officers are dealt with internally it is not a public matter.
“This one has some public implications … so questions might be asked about the end result of it and I don’t think the police would hide what happened,” Atlee Rodney, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) said on OBSERVER radio’s Big Issues on Sunday.
According to the DCP, “We’ll see how this instance develops. I’m not going to promise you that that is the case, because that’s not the norm, but as the situation develops, we will see what happens.”
Meanwhile, Rodney confirmed that the officers involved are still on the job as the investigation proceeds.
Members of the public, and even the public safety minister, have called for heads to roll over the incident. The DCP confirmed that a report on the matter has been presented to the Attorney General, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin.
The force has also taken licks for how it handled the public sensitisation of Forbes’ escape. No press statement was issued, neither was a press conference held informing the public that the man alleged to be a multiple murderer was on the loose. Rodney defended their approach on Sunday stating that the media were aware of the incident.
“I have listened to a number of the criticisms, and I’m hearing the point that we did not release a particular press statement or had a press conference, but we also have to be mindful that the media was informed during the time we were marshalling officers to the scene,” Rodney stated.
According to the officer, he was interacting with media operatives and members of the defence force high command at the same time. In acknowledging that there was no deliberate move to inform the public directly, the senior officer maintained that the relationship with the media was a partnership.
OBSERVER first learnt of Forbes’ escape from a member of the public who called-in stating that they had spotted the shackled man alone in the Swetes area. That call was received at 4:22 p.m. Subsequent checks with the police confirmed the escape, and Atlee relayed that he had been told that Forbes escaped sometime around 12:30 p.m. or 12:40 p.m.
But Rodney’s fellow panellists on the programme criticised the failure to take more overt public awareness action.
“It would have been done immediately, the public would have been notified that this person was on the loose, to take precautions, anyone seeing him needs to report it. It should have been on the radio, on the television, in the print media, on the internet … you should use every resource that you have to get this information out,” stated Dr. Celvin Walwyn, a former police commissioner, investigator, and public security author.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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