Who are we? (back to top)
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is an independent corporate body mandated, among other things, to independently investigate complaints against police officers involved in criminal offences, police corruption and serious police misconduct.
The PCA was established by the Police Complaints Authority Act, 2006 to provide civilian oversight of law enforcement in Trinidad & Tobago.
No member of the Police Complaints Authority’s staff is attached to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, Special Reserve Police or Municipal Police Force.
What do we do? (back to top)
The PCA is given extensive functions under the Police Complaints Authority Act.
- To investigate criminal offences involving police officers, police corruption and serious police misconduct.
- To undertake inquiries into or audits of police activities to ascertain whether there is police corruption or serious police misconduct or circumstances that may apply to both.
- To monitor an investigation being conducted, in relation to criminal offences involving police officers, police corruption and/or serious police misconduct and to undertake audits of these investigations.
- To advise and make recommendations to the Police Service and other authorities, for e.g., the Police Service Commission, on ways in which police corruption and serious police misconduct may be eliminated.
- To gather evidence which may be admissible in the prosecution of a person, who is NOT a police officer, for a criminal offence in relation to the Police Service and to furnish that evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions, or in the instance where an authority outside the State is concerned, the Attorney General.
- To gather evidence that may be used in investigating serious police misconduct and furnish such evidence to the Commissioner of Police or the Police Service Commission for appropriate action.
- To gather evidence that can be used in the prosecution of a police officer involved in a criminal offence and furnish such evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
- To perform any other functions that may be conferred on the Authority by any other written law.
The Authority may conduct investigations, as it has, on its own initiative or on the basis of a complaint form:
- Any member of the public;
- A member of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, Special Reserve Police or Municipal Police Force.
- Yes, police officers can make complaints to the PCA.
- Any public body or authority or,
- An appropriate unit or disciplinary tribunal of the Police Service.
You need to know (back to top)
- The services of the Authority are free.
- Your complaint is investigated by highly trained investigators, who are not police officers.
- All complaints and evidence are strictly confidential.
- The Police Complaints Authority is neither a section nor division of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the Special Reserve Police nor the Municipal Police Force.
The PCA Vision, Mission and Core Values (back to top)
“The Reliable Authority Leading the Way to JUSTICE”.
“To pursue justice through independent civilian oversight of serious police misconduct and criminality”.
The objective of the PCA is to ensure that complaints received, which fall within its remit, are dealt with fairly and thoroughly and to increase public confidence in the Police Service.
The PCA is fully engaged in:
- Receiving and examining complaints;
- Processing, investigating and monitoring the investigation of complaints;
- Corresponding with complainants;
- Setting up systems and procedures; and
- Training all staff to efficiently carry out the Authority’s functions.
1. Membership of the Authority is comprised of a Director and a Deputy Director appointed by His Excellency, the President.
(?) Section 6 (1) of the Act provides for the PCA to be comprised of a Director and Deputy Director to be appointed by the President of Trinidad and Tobago on the advice of both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. By Section 7 of the Act, the Director or Deputy Director shall have at least ten (10) years experience as an Attorney-at-Law. On December 29, 2010 the PCA’s first Director and Deputy Director were appointed for the maximum period of five years.
2.Directors (back to top)
Mr. David West, Director
Mr. West graduated from the Hugh Wooding Law School in 1996 after which he worked in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions until 1999 where he left to work in the Ministry of the Attorney General, Central Authority Unit.
Mr. West is a former Head of the Central Authority Unit with over ten years experience in dealing with extradition and mutual legal assistance. Mr. West was also responsible for drafting the amendments to Trinidad and Tobago’s Extradition Act, 1985 (Act No. 12 of 2004).
Mr. West was the Director Designate of the Financial Intelligence Unit from March 2010 up until 12th September 2010. He was a member of the Cabinet appointed committee on Anti Money Laundering and together with the other members were responsible for drafting the Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2009, Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, 2009, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2010 and the Financial Obligations Regulations, 2009. Mr. West was Junior Counsel to Andrew Mitchell, Q.C. who prosecuted the first money laundering case in Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2011 Mr. West earned the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) designation after he successfully passed the exam. This designation is recognized worldwide by financial institutions and government agencies as an indication of AML expertise. Mr. West in July 2015 was awarded the designation of Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS).
Mr. West was in private practice during the period 2008-2014 in El Dorado Chambers where the late Ms. Dana Seetahal, SC was Head of Chambers.
On the 7th November 2014 the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago appointed Mr. West Director of the Police Complaints Authority.
Mrs. Michelle Solomon-Baksh, Deputy Director
Ms. Michelle Solomon-Baksh graduated from the Hugh Wooding Law School and was called to the bar in 2003 when she entered private practice at Alpha Chambers where she spent the next fourteen years.
As Counsel at the criminal bar she obtained fiats to prosecute from the Director of Public Prosecutions and practiced at the Court of Appeal, the Assizes and the Magistracy in capital matters, corruption, fraud, larceny, money laundering and proceeds of crime matters as well as other matters related to drug-trafficking, firearm related offences and matters involving offences against the person.
During her career she tutored on Criminal Law at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus and served as an executive member of the Criminal Bar Association. In 2011 she was elected its Secretary and left that post in 2017. She is also an Associate member of the Caribbean Association of Procurement Professionals.
Ms. Solomon-Baksh has partnered with Amnesty International on its publications on capital matters in the Caribbean jurisdiction and was nominated by this organisation to represent Trinidad and Tobago as its legal representative in capital cases around the world at the 5th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, Madrid, Spain.
On the 29th June 2017 His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, ORTT, SC President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago appointed Ms. Solomon-Baksh as Deputy Director of the PCA. President Carmona said that her appointment was a distinguishing moment because for the first time in the history of Trinidad and Tobago, a woman was appointed to serve in this capacity and His Excellency insisted that for a society to progress, women must move forward.