Cases of prisoners providing false identities have been a norm for the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), Assistant Public Relations Officer Tamara Charles-Laure has admitted.
Charles-Laure comment comes in light of the recent case involving a prisoner, Kevin Alphonse, who had escaped lawful custody from the Richfond Police Station on September 27.
Upon further investigations, following his escape, it was realised that his real name is Davidson Alfred.
The RSLPF public relations official told St Lucia News Online (SNO) in an interview today that the police force have come across a number of prisoners, who provided the police with incorrect names over the years.
“A lot of people have done that. I know of a lot of persons we have charged with the wrong name on their case files and it’s only in the court the magistrate would realise that the person had given a wrong name, especially when it’s a repeat offender,” she explained.
Charles-Laure said that upon arrest, if provided with a National Identification Card (ID) then the correct identity would be established, but in other cases the prisoners are taken at face value.
“When you get to the police station a search is done and you ask them for an ID card. Some of them would give you one and you would see the proper name. Some would say they don’t have an ID card. You have no reason to doubt the person’s name,” she added.
The verification of a prisoner’s identity, she noted, is usually done in the court. “We don’t do a second verification. If we have already asked you for an ID card then your name would already be there and if you don’t and have given your name, then I am believing that is your name.”
The police official said it has been a challenge to verify prisoners’ identities and the police force have in the past relied on family members to verify the true name of these prisoners.
Charles-Laure explained that the manner in which the Force collects information is standard protocol and is used by all police stations island-wide.
“I worked for CID for a while and that is how we did it there,” she told SNO.
If an incorrect name of a prisoner is given and this is corrected, then police records will usually reflect those changes.