NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson has ordered an investigation into allegations made by a former police officer which has called into question the integrity of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).
Ferguson revealed to media on Wednesday afternoon that he has given directives to a team on the RBPF to investigate allegations made by a former police officer, which suggest that he and other officers on the police force have unlawfully arrested numerous persons who have been wrongfully imprisoned for years now.
“I have dispatched a team to conduct an investigation into this,” Ferguson said.
“I am interested in knowing what it is that he really is saying and see if there is any validity to it.”
The claims were made in string of voice notes which made the rounds on social media on Tuesday afternoon.
Eyewitness News Online also received three voice notes in connection to the purported scandal.
The voice notes document a heated verbal row between the former officer and a former police colleague of his.
In the initial voice note, the former officer hurled accusations that the RBPF, for years, has been unfair in its carriage of duties.
“We beat people, force confessions, go to court and lie just to send them to jail,” the former officer suggested.
“When my partners wanted to send people to jail and they didn’t do proper investigations; we lied to cover and people went to jail.
“Police officers have no integrity.”
The former officer, who reportedly served on the police force during the 1980’s, suggested that the unlawful practices were seen as a game, in some instances, to officers.
“We had this competition among ourselves that we had to lock somebody up; someone have to go to jail” he admitted.
The second voice note is a response to those claims.
In the second voice note, the second former officer noted that he had never been involved in any unscrupulous activity while serving on the force and cried shame on his former cop pal.
“When you put on that uniform you represent not just yourself, but you represent the entire force and anything that you do represents the entire police force and when you do some mess like what you said you did, you aren’t just shaming yourself, you shaming the entire police force; so, at this point I cry shame on you,” the man said.
“A police officer should never fabricate any type of evidence to cause a person to lose their freedom.
“In all honesty, I feel as though you should be arrested and I feel that all of the arrests that you would have had should be investigated and anybody who was convicted as a result of your arrest; if it is found that you would have fabricated evidence, this person should be compensated for having been wrongfully convicted.”
The third and final voice note, in the verbal spat airs counteracting claims by the disgruntled former officer who asserted that corruption has ran rampant within the RBPF for decades.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames cried shame on the former cop and asserted that the RBPF has always and will continue to operate with integrity.
“He cannot be speaking for the RBPF; at least, not the force that I know,” he said.
Dames said that police follows due process in their investigations.
“If someone is arrested and charged; that is laid before the courts and the evidence is produced,” he said.
“It then goes before the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Prosecutions.
“There is a process. His comments are totally out of place.”
Both Dames and Ferguson leveled the voice note to just another social media scandal that should not be further fueled by the general public.
“Don’t get carried away by someone waking up one morning and making a statement; the investigations that are put before the court are very thorough,” the police commissioner said.
“This is the danger of social media,” the national security minister said.
“I don’t place any merit on his comments and the commissioner of police and his police will be doing more about this.”
Meantime, Sonny Miller, President of the Police Staff Association – who represents thousands of officers in the RBPF – told Eyewitness News exclusively yesterday that he is highly disappointed that a former police officer would seek to sully the reputation of the police force.
“My members operate within the scope of the law; we know that we are above the law and we have nothing to benefit by putting someone before the court falsely,” he said.
“We believe in doing what is right and believe in our motto which is “courage, integrity and loyalty.’
“Despite the naysayers; they can take that trash elsewhere.
The scandal has also caught the attention of activist group Rights Bahamas which has not only called for an extensive investigation into the former officer’s claims, but has also asserted that if the claims are proven to be true; all wrongly imprisoned persons should be vindicated.
The police commissioner has given no timeline as to how soon officers will wrap up their investigations into this debacle.