CoP told to brace for legal action following TTPS’ inability to account for 500 rounds of seized ammo

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CoP told to brace for legal action following TTPS’ inability to account for 500 rounds of seized ammo

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher has been accused of being unable to act, and direct others under her charge to act.

The accusation was laid by the attorneys for a Chaguanas gun dealer, who have warned the top cop to brace for legal action over the police’s inability to account for 500 rounds of nine-millimetre ammunition seized in October 2022.

Attorneys Anand Beharrylal, KC, Kyle Taklalsingh, Asif Hosein-Shah and Ananda Rampersad, told Harewood-Christopher via the letter that it appeared she had lost control of the police service.

The missing ammunition belongs to gun dealer Towfeek Ali. It was seized by police last year as part of an audit into the issuing of firearms users’ licences (FUL).

In the letter, Taklalsingh said, “Respectfully, it seems that you have either lost control of the TTPS or are unable to take the necessary measures to preserve the sanctity of criminal investigations into police misconduct and that you are unable to act, and direct others under your charge to act, with the caution that a sensitive matter of this nature demands.

“Failing divine intervention, which seems to be your preferred method of management, it seems that the TTPS would be unable to resolve this issue properly or fairly and, therefore, my clients intend to pursue their civil and other remedies in the hope of obtaining justice before the courts.”

Taklalsingh said when Ali’s personal ammunition was seized, “presumably numerate and literate police officers counted them, verified the quantities and made handwritten notations on the dealer’s FUL.”

In January, Ali’s attorneys went to court and obtained a court order for the return of the guns and ammunition seized by the police. However, it was discovered that all but the 500 rounds of ammunition were returned days later.

Taklalsingh said before the order was finalised, the police were given the opportunity to verify and approve the quantities of ammunition to be returned and instructions were taken by its attorneys from the officers who previously counted, verified and recorded the amount of ammunition seized.

Taklalsingh said those officers gave instructions that they would return 1,130 rounds of the nine-millimetre ammunition, along with the other calibre and quantities. Only 630 rounds were returned.

He said at no time did the police dispute the quantity of ammunition seized nor did they say they wished to alter the records or notations on the FUL or that there was any mistake.

Taklalsingh also said the return was captured on video which showed officers “looking quite concerned” about the quantity of ammunition missing or unaccounted for.

He said what was “profoundly concerning” to Ali and his dealership – the Firearms Training Institute Ltd – was the “self-serving announcement” by the police service that its officers were not “criminally culpable” before investigations are even completed.

Takalsingh said this was “simply extraordinary.” He questioned what information was sent to the DPP.

“Whilst unarguably speed of investigation is not a well-known characteristic of the TTPS, the present expedition leading to an equally speedy public exoneration by the police of the police is truly astonishing and a new and unique development of apparent police efficiencies,” the attorney said.

He also said it was “inconceivable” that this “exoneration” was announced while his clients were preparing written responses to questions posed by senior investigators.

Taklalsingh said given the “obvious pre-determination” by the police to clear itself, Ali now had little confidence in the service.

He also said Ali was cooperating with the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) – which started its own investigation– and intended to write to the DPP asking for reasons for his decision not to prosecute officers of the Professional Standards Bureau.