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WPC in voice note wants protection from police assoc
Amid an investigation being conducted by the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB), the female police officer at the centre of a voice note has “reached out” to the Police Service Social and Welfare Association for protection.
The note, which went viral, has sparked both criticism and praise in which officers conducted their daily duties.
But the issue has brought to the fore that there is no social media policy to govern the Police Service.
The PSB, which falls within the remit of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), is investigating the matter.
The PCA would be monitoring and auditing the probe.
On the need for a social media policy the association’s president, Insp Michael Seales, said he had discussions with a member of the Public Affairs Unit of the Police Service in which it was recommended that such a directive be put into place.
“The Police Service, as an organisation, is actively involved in social media as a tool for law enforcement and it is time we have that social media policy to regulate the conduct of officers in their comments,” Seales said.
The WPC in question claimed she pulled aside a car, later realising that the driver was the wife of former finance and national security minister Howard Chin Lee.
The officer claimed the woman did not have the vehicle’s current insurance and registration following which she was then asked to go to the nearest police station.
The officer said the woman had also been speeding.
The WPC allegedly said Mrs Chin Lee was angry to go to the station adding that when Chin Lee arrived at the station he ‘accosted ’ (the officer) while in her vehicle and reminded her of who he was.
Seales, speaking on CNC 3 Morning Brew programme yesterday, said the female officer “along with others” had contacted the association.
On why he believed why the officer sought advice from the association Seales said, “I think that it is the fact that it is in the public domain and the way in which the note went viral.
“It has caused some sort of unease and as a consequence of that...thing that have been said on social media and otherwise...that had caused some concern and I think that is why the officer and other officers reached out...to share their concerns regarding how the matter should be handled,” Seales said.
He said the association, in its discussions with the officers, sought to bring some “ease and comfort to them.”
Pressed whether the officer in question admitted that she sent out the voice note, Seales said he preferred not to go into the details of the conversation.
On why the officer felt the need to send the voice note, Seales said, “That would be something personal to her.
“She would have discussed a lot of issues surrounding this.”
Asked whether the officer was wrong, Seales said he believed it was “an error of judgment” but added that the officer be allowed an opportunity to “go through a process so that it could take care of itself.”
“The association would try to assist in the best way we can but we would also encourage the officer to tell the truth and when the truth is heard a more informed decision can be made,” Seales said.
On what was the proper procedure regarding speeding, driving without insurance and license and having an unsecured child in the vehicle Seales said a person can be charged for all offences.
“But that is a matter before the court so it would be unwise to go into the details,” Seales added.
Regarding who was right and who was wrong Seales said once thoroughly investigated the facts would be revealed.
“Out of all of this there is a lot to be gained. It is in fact an eye opener and I think the Police Service would benefit from this period on,” Seales said.
WHAT CHIN LEE SAID
In a statement the former minister had expressed disappointment at what he said was an inaccurate account.
Chin Lee, however, said that he simply went to the police station to hand over the vehicle’s registration information, adding that the matter is now before the courts.
“Arising out of an incident which occurred on Friday where my wife was issued tickets by police for not having insurance and speeding, I have taken note of a subsequent and inaccurate and social media post.
“I wish to state that given the former portfolios I held. I have always and will always support and respect the police in the execution of what are increasingly difficult duties to keep the country and particularly the roads safe.
“I wish to state my purpose for visiting the station was simply to produce the original Insurance certificate for the current year.
Since my wife at the time could only produce soft copy of the current insurance certificate as the one in her car had expired.”
“I know these are difficult times that require full public support for the police and consequently I will continue to respect, support and cooperate with officers of the law at every level in doing their job.
“However before I conclude I must express some disappointment that after the tickets were issued someone purporting to be the very officer takes to social media to issue an inaccurate account of the exchange on social media.”
“That is an action that strikes me as unprofessional especially given the tickets issued by the very officer are now before the courts,” Chin Lee said.
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