November 10, 2020

A top-level probe has been launched into allegations that a policeman locked a Jamaican citizen out of a police station and refused to take a report from him because the nightly curfew had started.

The incident is alleged to have taken place at the Matilda's Corner Police Station in St Andrew on Sunday night when Jermaine Byfield, a resident of Hope Pastures, went to report a robbery.

"When I got there it was 9:05 p.m., and I made an attempt to make the report, the police basically closed the door and the windows and wasn't talking to me. I was telling him what happened to my car, and (that) I was told to make a report here. He said he's not taking any reports because it's after 9 p.m.," Byfield told THE STAR.

The man said that his car was broken into and a MacBook laptop was stolen from it about 7:45 p.m. He said that he called the police and they responded, processed the scene, and then advised him to report the incident at the police station. However, according to Byfield, when he got there, he was turned away by the cop on duty, who claimed it was past the curfew time.

Not taking any more reports

"I asked the officer if he is serious about what he said, and he said 'yes' he's not taking any more reports for the night," Byfield said.

The Government has imposed a nightly curfew to help curtail the spread of COVID-19. The curfew starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 5 the next morning.

However, Deputy Superintendent of Police Dahlia Garrick, communications officer for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), when contacted by THE STAR, said there is no policy that allows for the turning away of persons from police stations.

"Police are never off-duty and the stations are never closed. In a case where you choose to report a matter, you can do it at a station most convenient to them," she said.

Garrick said the matter is now the subject of an internal and administrative investigation as " it is not in keeping with the standards and operational procedures of the JCF."

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