Consumers Affairs Staffers Undergo Training in Investigative Procedures

Director of Consumer Affairs Wendy Frederick
Director of Consumer Affairs Wendy Frederick

Consumer affairs plays a vital role in helping customers sort out their complaints over infractions that may arise in the delivery of goods and services-and with new legislations on stream, the department is taking steps to sharpen the skills of its staffers in the field of investigative procedures.

The department of consumer affairs recently held a two -day workshop to acclimatize its members on the components involved in prosecuting complaints or cases on file.

Director of the Consumer Affairs Department, Wendy Frederick updated reporters on the objective of the session.

She explained that the staffers were undergoing an exercise to sharpen their skills in the area of Investigative Techniques and Case Malmanagement. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Daarsean Greene facilitated the workshop.

“We’ve been learning quite a bit, in terms of case management and investigative techniques,” said Frederick.

The purpose of this exercise was to “empower the staff …since the implementation of the Consumer Affairs Council and Tribunal,” she noted.

Frederick added, “We have been undergoing a series of training to ensure that the staff of the Consumer Affairs Department are well able and empowered to be able to represent the consumers.”

Frederick recalled that last year, training was conducted on the Consumer Protection Act, and Report Writing, and now its on case management and investigative techniques.

“So, we want to be able to carry out our investigations more professionally and ensure that we are accurate in conducting our investigations,” she explained. “So, this training will assist our investigating officers in conducting their investigations.”

The consumer affairs director stated that all complaints received are investigated and so, moving forward, the department wants to ensure that staffers are adequately prepared to effectively carry out their investigations.

Frederick further explained that lots of the complaints revolve around the regulations within the legislation. “We’ve been enlightened a bit more, in terms of the legislation and how much we are empowered as investigation officers. What we can do under the law, what we cannot do and how careful we should be in conducting our investigations,” she noted.

Greene said the training exercise being conducted with the Bureau of Consumer Affairs is aimed at building capacity in the areas of criminal practice, criminal procedures, and fundamental guidance in how they approach both summary and indictable matters.

He said, a thorough training workshop was conducted.

The course objective, he stated, was geared towards the staffers gaining a better understanding of the investigation techniques and “to have a clear understanding of what court procedures is all about and how to present matters before the court.”

Greene noted that the participants involved staffers from the department of consumer affairs and the ministry of commerce.

He said, though it may appear intimidating that the staffers do not qualify as legal practitioners, but they were tutored “so they could be very comfortable with understanding what is to be expected in court.”

The course facilitator said although the exercise had been conducted previously “to deal with these sorts of infractions, but in light of the new legislation that they have, and the new requirements over the years they want to ensure that they know what’s happening and what to expect due to court proceedings.”

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