Public complaints against police drop
Public complaints against the Ministry of Police have dropped to 37 per cent for the financial year 2017 compared to the same period in the previous year.
But a total of 63 cases of disciplinary action were taken against the Police force last year.
The statistics were revealed in the Ministry of Police’s Annual Report for the financial year 2016-2017. The report from the professional standards unit (P.S.U.) division was done with the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Attorney General on issues of police discipline and general ethical behavior of all Samoa Police Service staff (except for the executive).
According to the data in the report, 68 public complaints were received last year and were all investigated by the P.S.U. Out of the total 68 cases, 21 have so far been completed.
The P.S.U. has also investigated 30 internal complaints with four tribunals convened last year. The report further stated that there were 36 criminal cases filed following the P.S.U. inquiry.
“The professional standard unit performance during the financial year, in terms of their response to complaints (internal and external) was reduced to 29 per cent overall. Internal complaints have reduced to 60 per cent during the financial year.”
According to the report, the reduction in matters handled by P.S.U. is due to the implementation and enforcement of internal systems and processes as well as enhancement of partnership with other stakeholders.
“There has been an increase in community awareness encouraging the public to report unethical behavior of members of the service,” stated the report.
During the said financial year, all four assistant commissioners of police resigned from their post. One Assistant Commissioner was suspended and later resigned.
During that financial year, the Cabinet went ahead with its restructure of the Ministry of Police executive body, reinstated the position of a deputy police commissioner, and removed the current four assistant Commissioner positions.
This came after the court dismissed all 265 charges against Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil.