Expect to see increased patrols from the TT Police Service, including joint exercises with the TT Defence Force, over the July/August period at popular gathering spots, including shopping malls and the Chaguaramas Boardwalk, as the Ministry of National Security tries to keep school children and their families on holiday safe.
“We want to create a sense of safety and security,” National Security Minister Edmund Dillon told reporters at a media briefing on crime prevention measures over the period, yesterday at the ministry headquarters in Port of Spain.
The fear of crime is worse than crime itself, Dillon said, and so the TTPS and the TTDF will be more visible to give people that sense of security.
As part of that, there will be greater patrols using speed guns and breathalysers, as well as focused and general operations.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams added that there was a renewed call to all heads of divisions to use all the resources available to them to protect the communities in which they operate. Also present was Chief of Defence Staff Hayden Pritchard, who reiterated his troops’ support of the measures, which will be led by the TTPS.
The Ministry’s response appears to be an attempt to reassure the public following a “brazen” shooting on the Chaguaramas Boardwalk last weeked, where three people were killed and three others injured. Dillon said National Security teams met last week to discuss a July/August plan, but felt the need to give a sense of safety and security.
Asked was new about them, especially since this is what should have already in action, Williams said it had nothing to do with a crime plan, but, rather, was a matter of demand and supply.
“Based on the law, and I speak here for police officers, they have a strict work week. When you have demands, higher demand based on the circumstances that take place in society, it requires going beyond. There is this situation that confronts you at different points at the year: there is a higher demand because parents are sending out their children and want them to be safe. So, the police have to provide this service to protect and serve with pride and we seek to do that and that’s the reason why. When there are demand for addition service there must be additional resources,” he said.
Williams also said the TTPS, the main body executing the Anti-Gang Bill passed at the end of May had “learnt lessons from the past,” especially with gathering evidence to prosecute offenders.
“We do have clear indicators of people involved in criminal activity and gang-related activity. We cannot go in a retrospective way and take evidence from the past and make case in the present; that is part of the failure of the past. In 2011, when we did (that) most of the cases went down the drain. The TTPS is building cases against many people and in the near future you will see several people effectively prosecuted,” he said.