Three Officers Interdicted Following Escape of Fugitive Orville Purnell

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has placed three members on interdiction who were on duty the day a Jamaican fugitive wanted in St Lucia for murder and gun offences escaped from the Kingston Central police lock-up.

A criminal inquiry into this incident has been launched, according to the JCF.

Orville Purnell, 27, who was scheduled to appear in court for an extradition hearing on December 6, absconded from police custody on Wednesday, December 1.

Sources say Purnell made a $3 million offer to police officers and inmates at Kingston Central Police Station to aid him in evading extradition to St Lucia to face murder and weapons allegations.

The incident has re-focused attention on a string of escapes from police detention facilities and prompted questions about the activities of law enforcement officers involved.

“He never escaped, really. We believed that he just walked out of the station,” a senior police officer told the media.

The police officer, who requested anonymity because the investigation is still in its infancy, stated that there were no visible indicators that Purnell’s cell had been tampered with.

The JCF also highlighted that eight additional members had been placed on interdiction in connection with two additional cases of escape this year.

The JCF further added that it takes all accusations against its members very seriously.

Major General Antony Anderson, Police Commissioner, emphasised the crucial nature of strengthening the integrity of police lockups in order to modernise the constabulary force.

Anderson also stressed that, while due process will be followed, there must be repercussions for recent detainee escapes.

“Let me make it abundantly clear to the public and to the men and women I lead that this is a matter of accountability that I take very seriously. When people, through negligence or unprofessionalism, cause the name of the JCF to be tarnished, there must be consequences,” he said.

Since the start of 2021, the JCF reported eight instances of detainees escaping police custody.

It stated that four investigations into those instances are well underway and are the subject of administrative proceedings.

The JCF stated that the Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau are continuing their investigations into the remaining four problems and that updates would be made as necessary.


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