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Senior Officer caught with contraband pharmaceuticals being investigated

The Professional Standards Branch is also investigating a senior cop of the police department. On August 4, Superintendent of Police Dinsdale Thompson was caught transporting contraband pharmaceuticals. He was intercepted by Customs Officers who found him in possession of a batch of medicines including antibiotics and vitamin supplements. But unlike PC Ismael Momina, the case involving Thompson is different. Since he is a senior officer, the procedures being used to discipline him is different. Also, Thompson managed to settle the matter with the Customs Department so that leaves the Professional Standards Branch to seek disciplinary action against Thompson. ACP Chester Williams explained.

ACP Chester Williams – Head, Professional Standards Branch
“We have recorded a number of statements in respect of that matter and we are still awaiting a couple more reports from customs and the Ministry of Health Inspectorate Office and the file is currently being prepared for onward submission to the CEO in the Ministry of Home Affairs. As you would know that the nature of the complaint against Mr.Thompson is one him being a senior officer the rules of disciplining him are different from that of a junior officer and one of the rules clearly stipulates that the Chief Executive Office shall write Mr.Thompson in terms of what we call a letter of complaint and give him an opportunity to respond to that letter. The matter will also be reported to the Security Services Commission and the Commission will then write Mr.Thompson and ask him to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. So the process is already on going and as soon as that process is completed then it is the commission who decides based on the evidence put forward by the commissioner and the CEO whether or not disciplinary action will be taken against him so like I said that process is ongoing.

According to Williams, they are seeking to discipline Thompson for the ‘act of misconduct’. Because he is a senior officer, he cannot be simply suspended. That suspension needs to be made by the Security Services Commission. However, he can be placed on administration leave for five days by the Commissioner of Police. Williams says Thompson is currently on leave pending the decision of the Security Services Commission.

ACP Chester Williams – Head, Professional Standards Branch
“If a crime is committed by a police officer there is nothing in law to hinder us from proceeding against that police officer criminally as you would with an ordinary civilian; it’s just that when it comes to disciplinary matters there are certain things that we must adhere to so as to ensure that the proper procedures are adhered to because we don’t want to take a matter before the Security Services Commission and lose it by reasons of technicalities so we must ensure that we follow all the rules as stipulated in the regulation as to how the officer is to be dealt with disciplinarily. If there was something criminal that had been committed by Mr.Thompson then by all means we could have proceeded and charged him like any other person without consulting anybody but the criminal aspect for which he could have been charged for is a customs matter and from what we have gathered from customs he has agreed to settle out of court for that matter so there is nothing we can do there, we can only now proceed against him disciplinarily and that is what we are doing at this time.”

Williams says they have not established the Belize Market value of the items Thompson was caught with. They need this information in order to proceed with the case against him.