T&T Police Service (TTPS) head of corporate communications Ellen Lewis yesterday denied the police paid special attention to recovering Adrian Imbert’s stolen cellphone.
Lewis made the position clear following recent public outcry that the TTPS had shown apparent bias in recovering Imbert’s stolen phone because he was the son of Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
The swift recovery of the cellphone by officers has led to a furore on social media over the efficiency of the police in the case. Some individuals claimed law enforcement and justice were selective. Others held the view that all crimes should be investigated regardless, while others believed the phone was quickly recovered because it may have contained confidential information.
Last Friday, Imbert, 25, was robbed in Laventille after his Hilux pickup stalled. Two men pretending to be mechanics offered to assist, but later robbed Imbert of his $5,000 cellphone and wallet containing an undisclosed amount of cash.
It was reported that agents from two elite units of the TTPS began investigations surrounding the hold-up and senior officers also alerted detectives from Cyber Crime Unit to begin efforts to track the stolen cellphone. On Monday, police locked down several parts of Beetham Gardens and executed a search warrant at a house where Imbert’s phone was found, but no arrests were made.
Yesterday, Lewis confirmed that the phone was recovered.
But in relation to comments the officers acted swiftly only because a minister’s son was involved, Lewis said, “The TTPS has been making enormous strides with respect to its detection rate, as reflected in the successful closure of cases and the recovery of items reported stolen.”
She insisted that the police has had particular success with reports that involved electronic devices such as laptops and cellular phones. She said Imbert’s incident occurred in the Port-of-Spain Division and the Cyber Crime Unit would have requested assistance in tracing any device or crime using technology.
Told there was a public furore over the police’s quick recovery of Imbert’s phone, Lewis said, “I can say with certainty there was no special interest paid to this matter. None whatsoever. There are real examples of police successes where the use of technology was involved in solving crime…whether it be stolen computers, laptops, tablets and cell phones. We treat impartially and objectively with reports that come in relative to crimes that were committed.”
She said it was common knowledge the police, in the conduct of anti-crime exercises, would recover large quantities of cell phones from time-to-time.
“And our divisions would call on the public to identify and collect them. That is a fact.”
Lewis said mobile devices are also recovered when a suspect is known to the victim.
“So, therefore, the police is easily able to retrieve the items that have been stolen.”
Guardian Media Ltd messaged Imbert senior yesterday asking about his interaction with the TTPS and whether he believed his son was afforded any special treatment because of his status as a Government Minister. Imbert viewed the message but did not respond.
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Shaliza Hassanali)