September 13, 2012 2:48 PM
WILLEMSTAD — The first inspection report from the Council for the Administration of Justice, with the report process as subject, was presented to the minister of Justice in June and has now been made public.
The report paints an alarming picture as regards the report-activities within the Police Corps Curaçao (KPC). The conclusion is drawn that this isn’t in accordance with the legal requirements as stipulated in the Penal Regulation Curaçao (WvSv).
For example, the districts teams on the island omit to observe the corps’ order of 1995 (a part of the WvSv) when taking down reports.
Informers are unnecessary referred to another station of the KPC to file their report.
Competency problems were noticed with the taking down of simple reports. It regards language problems, but also material and formal defects, such as insufficient inclusion of the offence elements, not adding the written authorization and not fulfilling the obligation to report on the wish of the disadvantaged party to claim damage in the reports or process-verbal.
This creates a domino effect. The coordinators, the team leaders at the district teams and specialized units spend much time and energy on correction work. The latter then puts much pressure on the capacity of the specialized unites. In the opinion of the Council, there are practical solutions for the short term regarding the expertise problems.
The Council also concludes that a structural policy cycle is lacking, especially when it comes to determining measurable targets in taking down reports whereby the citizen’s need plays a role. The ActPol-system and how the police personnel us this are problematic. As a result a reliable basic is lacking for correction and for the information flow on reports to chain partners, such as the Public Prosecutor.
Furthermore, the informants aren’t informed sufficiently on the course of the case when they aren’t heard after suspects are arrested. This does occur with the special services, which inform the informants in writing that the case is sent to the Public Prosecutor for further handling.
The Council also concludes that not all informants receive the support and help they are entitled to. There is no referral for assistance. If there is this usually occurs orally. This hinders the possibility of assistance by the Bureau Victim Help.
The shortage of personnel at the KPC also contributes to a reduced reaction when drawing up the report, according to the report.
There is usually a question of inadequate rooms to take down the reports. It happens too often that reports are taken in the same room where the suspects are heard.
Outside the stipulated secrecy obligation for tracking officials there are no standards to protect the privacy of the informants. General prevailing safety standards for informants – as apposed to cases of relational violence – are also lacking. With the investigation the Council was also confronted with several cases of possible dishonest conduct by police personnel when taking down reports of relational violence.
However, the Council also found leads for improvements. Eleven recommendations are mentioned for the KPC and the Public Prosecutor to improve the situation.
For example, the KPC is to implement the organizational plan as soon as possible as regards taking down reports. In view of the current legal requirements and the actual organizational situation, the corps’ order of 1995 must be reviewed and reintroduced. An information and registration audit should take place within short with the aim to establish the reasons for not making optimal use of ActPol at the KPC and the practicality of the system. This requires special attention for the supervisory responsibility of the Public Prosecutor. The system must also be accessible for the Public Prosecutor.
Practical language and competence courses must also be organized in the short term. Intensive assistance on the shop floor and effective supervision on the performance of tasks are necessary to solve the current competence problem with the personnel. A corrector is necessary as long as the quality of the contents and language cannot be guaranteed. This corrector, with knowledge of and experience with taking down reports, will check the reports as regards contents and language from a non-hierarchic position.
Furthermore, the KPC and Public Prosecutor are to introduce structural consultation with the assisting organizations and the agreements must be made known through instructions within the KPC.
However, the Council mainly supports the intentions to improve the report process, as described in the organizational plan of the corps, and deems an urgent decision on the implementation of the process of great importance.
The Council for the Administration of Justice is a legal incorporation holding inter-national organ of Curaçao, St. Maarten and the BES-Islands and established by the Statute Law of July 7th 2010: the Statute Law Council of the Administration of Justice. The Council consists of three members and is assisted by a secretariat. In October 2011, an inspection investigation was started into the origin, set up and effect of the report process. The choice for this theme was prompted by the realization that the report is qualifying for the citizen in his/her attitude toward the judicial chain. For the Council, the inspection on taking down reports is the first step in a series of judicial activities that will come up for discussion with the inspections in the coming period.