Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Statistics are no balm, sir
Murderers and thugs are flipping off the police casually, and the official tough guy response has impressed no-one. Meeting meaningless violence with equally meaningless violence only angers the innocent and foments a wholly unnecessary polarisation between officers and the public, one that chills the possibility of conversation that might lead to change.
On Wednesday, Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams defended the efforts of his police officers, declaring that crime was at its lowest in eight years. Mr Williams described himself as hurt by the criticism of his officers and called for the public to be guided by facts, since talk was cheap. It wasn’t the first time that statistics have been raised as a shield against poor public perception of police performance.
In April 2012, the police leadership declared a 13 per cent drop in murders over the prior year’s total. Since the numbers, hovering at 104 and 91 respectively still represented an appalling tally of killings, the light of hope was quickly turned to the sharp increase in reports of rape, incest and other sexual offences, double the total of 123 in 2011. Here, at least, there seemed to be some good news. Far from an increase in incidents, it seems that the police service had earned some hard won respect and confidence in communities with their Victim and Witness Support Unit, leading to more reports.
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