IT IS shameful when a police officer succumbs to temptation and a valuable exhibit goes missing ù be it money, jewellery, marketable illicit drugs, or confidential information.
Chief Justice Anthony Gates said the professionalism of the police force, its honesty and reputation, demanded the utmost care with the handling and storage of exhibits.
Chief Justice Gates was speaking at the Criminal Investigations Department management workshop on Wednesday.
He said security, storage, indexing, labelling were matters of integrity for police officers as professionals.
"Whether the identification of items that leave the care of the investigating or seizing officer are sufficiently adequate I cannot say," he said. "Modesty as well as great caution demands that we keep reviewing our systems."
Chief Justice Gates said losing exhibits for drug cases, or when items were sent to the laboratory for testing, should never happen.
He asked: "Are you confident you have a tight system in place? If not your systems need careful review and reassessment."
Chief Justice Gates said in some cases where the exhibit was too bulky to bring to court like vehicles and machines, or which had a short utility life like modern technological equipment, photographing the exhibits should be considered.
"This may include recording photographically serial numbers or marks of identification or other characteristics relevant to the case," he said.
"It only irritates victims of crime if they are first robbed and then deprived by the police of their lost possessions for another two years while the case drags on through the courts.
"After a while the items become unusable or valueless.
"Photographic recording is best done with the consent of the defence before the items are returned to the loser.
"The court should be informed," Chief Justice Gates said.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said Police Commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua always maintained that the best gauge of their performance came from those outside the organisation.
"On the same note as the force continues to address the issue of professionalism, the comment made by Chief Justice Anthony Gates and Madam Nazhat Shameem is as always greatly appreciated," Ms Naisoro said.