San Pedro Police placed under scrutiny over late night raids
Saturday, January 19th, 2013
The San Pedro Police Department is back in the news as an investigation is ongoing into the allegations made by a senior citizen of San Pedro Town. The citizen claims that during a search conducted by four policemen at his apartment, a substantial sum of money went missing. The man, who is over 65 years old, made a formal report to the former Officer Commanding (OC) San Pedro Police Formation Assistant Superintendent of Police Vienne Robinson who commissioned an investigation.
The San Pedro Sun contacted Robinson, who claims that there are a lot of inaccuracies in the report regarding the claimant. Robinson explained that the investigation stemmed from a search conducted by four police elements attached to the San Pedro Police Station, who on the strength of a warrant searched the property of the 65-year-old male citizen on Tuesday January 8th.
The citizen claimed the surprise search was conducted at 2:30AM but according to ASP Robinson, their investigation indicates that the search could not have been that early since the police vehicle was not assigned to the officers that have been identified as part of the ongoing investigation. “A written statement was taken by me, but at no time did the man call any specific officer’s name. However we have indentified the officers that were on duty on the shift; we are aware [and know] that a search was conducted because of a warrant that was issued. There was reasonable suspicion and for that reason a search warrant was issued… an investigation has started and based on the investigation and the outcome, it will be determined what the course of action will be,” said Robinson, who has since been transferred but said the investigation has been handed to Inspector of Police attached to San Pedro Police Station Reynaldo Pook. According to the 65-year-old gentleman, as much as $5,000US was discovered missing directly after the raid and strongly believes that the officers took it from his hiding spot.When asked if there was any concern that the Police Department’s name “specifically San Pedro” has once again been put in the public spotlight and if it is a concern for the Police Department Robinson said that “of course it concerns us,” but she reiterated that not all the information divulged in the ‘public’s court’ is indeed fact.
On Monday, January 14th The San Pedro Sun also received yet another disturbing report of a similar incident that occurred over the same weekend. This time, a resident who has been living on the island for over 30 years and is a naturalized Belizean told The San Pedro Sun that on Friday January 11th at around 3AM, he and his companion were awakened by four police officers demanding to search his home for drugs. According to the 78-year-old man, when he asked for a warrant, one of the officers drove off and returned shortly with the search warrant; a warrant which OC Robinson confirmed was issued. Robinson did say, however that the search was not done at the time indicated and in fact occurred after 5AM. “The second gentleman did speak to me. While he did not give any written report, and is not pursuing an investigation, he expressed concern with the way the search was conducted,” said the former OC of the San Pedro Police Formation.
“The matters are being fully investigated and it will not be taken lightly. For us to properly investigate the incident as it relates to the alleged missing money, we require the full cooperation of the person making the accusation and for him to continue with the entire process,” said Robinson. However, she would not release the names of the officers involved since the investigation process is in its initial stage. San Pedro police say that they had sufficient reasons to conduct both searches, however nothing incriminating was found in either search. As of late, the San Pedro Police Department has been in the public eye, more so after three civilians accused officers of using excessive force. These incidents are all “under investigation”, but in the meantime, citizens want to know, “who is watching the watchers?”