Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, has confirmed that a full-scale investigation is being conducted into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of suspects Andrew Morris and Joel Balcon while in police custody.
In an official statement issued today, Commissioner Griffith stated that apart from the TTPS conducting an investigation, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is presently conducting a parallel probe.
The two men, Balcon and Morris, were suspects into the kidnap and subsequent death of 23-year-old Andrea Bharatt, a clerk of the Arima Magistrates’ Court who went missing on January 29th. Her decomposed body was found down a precipice at the Heights of Aripo on February 4th.
The Police Commissioner has given assurances that there will be no cover-up.
“Since I became Commissioner of Police in August 2018, 96 police officers were charged with various offences including kidnapping, human trafficking, robbery with aggravation and assault, while another 86 were suspended,” the top cop said.
He also urges citizens to avoid making hasty comments about the probes and the murder case, without having all the facts.
“People are reaching a final conclusion without knowing what has transpired. We are doing a thorough investigation both by the Police Service and the PCA. For persons to be making false and misleading accusations, it is not helping the situation in any way,” he noted.
“It is inappropriate for people to be making accusations and who by their accusations, have already found police officers guilty without getting the facts. These would include the Law Association, an Opposition Senator, and a person who received one percent of the votes in an area he contested in an election,” the Commissioner said.
He also refuted statements attributed to him concerning how one of the suspects died.
“I have heard comments about a prisoner dying after falling from a chair. At no time did any police officer, or myself, say that an individual died because he fell from a chair. That never took place,” Commissioner Griffith asserted.
He added: “What we do know as a fact was the excellent work done by the various units of the TTPS in the way they conducted the investigations by finding the four persons responsible for the kidnap and death of Ms Bharatt, and they should be commended. No one has asked about the well-being of the officers who were injured when they went to arrest suspects in this matter.”
The top cop also addressed reports in a newspaper published over the weekend concerning video footage related to the Andrea Bharatt case.
“At this time, the TTPS has no such video footage. I am asking anyone with information who can assist in this matter to come forward and present it to the TTPS,” he said.