Senior Police Officer Suspended

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After Photos of Scantily-dressed Woman Wearing his Uniform Go Viral on Social Media

PORT OF SPAIN – The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) says a
senior officer has been suspended as the probe continues into the
circumstances that led to pictures of a woman, scantily dressed in the
uniform of a senior police officer being posted on the social media network.

In a statement issued late Monday night, the TTPS said that the Acting
Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams had “issued a suspension notice
to be served on Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police, Michael Sooker,
of the North Eastern Division, relative to an allegation of discreditable
conduct linked to photographs that surfaced on social media last week.”

The images were selfies of the woman wearing the uniform and tactical
wear bearing the name and number of ASP Michael Sooker of the North
Eastern Division.

A statement from the TTPS noted that the unidentified woman appeared to
be pictured at a police facility.

Last week, Williams called on the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) to
initiate an immediate investigation into the matter.

“PCB has been given clear directions that the matter is to be treated with a
level of urgency so that the appropriate action ca be taken,” the statement
said.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Social and Welfare
Association, Inspector Michael Seales, said the photos had brought the
entire police service into further disrepute in the eyes of the public and
urged Williams to take a strong stand.

It is against the law for anyone to wear a police officer’s uniform unless
authorised by the Commissioner of Police.

The Police Service Act, Chapter 15:01, 62 states that a person other than a
police officer who without the written authority of the Commissioner, puts on
or assumes the uniform designation or description of a police officer, is
liable to a fine of $30,000 or three years imprisonment.

The woman in the photo appears to be a Latin American national and media
reports here said that several police officers were allegedly doing “favours”
for Latino women, most of whom are believed to have entered into the
country illegally.

The Trinidad Guardian newspaper quoting a police source, reported that
“many Venezuelan women who are allegedly caught and found to be here
illegally are said to be offering sexual favours for the dropping of any
charges or possible handing over to Immigration officers”.

“Target of a Set-up”

Meanwhile, the policeman who uniform was worn by the woman, believes
he is the target of a set-up. ASP Sooker said he knew nothing about the
woman being in his office or wearing his uniform. Sooker’s substantive rank
is inspector.

Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police, Michael Sooker

Sooker said it was his practice to leave his uniforms in his office and said
the incident was an attempt to tarnish him, noting promotions are around
the corner.

Asked if the photographs caused his wife to kick him out their bedroom,
Sooker laughed and said no, adding his wife and family are supportive and
she understood the character of the man she married.

Sooker did say he would have to be more careful with the service’s open
door policy that allows the public to have easy access to officers.

“The open door policy was mandated by the commissioner so I can not stop
but I have to be more careful from now on,” Sooker said. – CMC &
TRINIDAD NEWSDAY

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