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Victim support unit to be expanded in October
Retired Assistant Police Commissioner Margaret Sampson-Browne, now in charge of the Victim and Witness Support Unit (VWSU) yesterday announced an expansion of the unit. The organisation has been in existence since 2008 with the transformation of the Police Service. Sampson-Browne was speaking at yesterday’s daily press conference at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain. “We are spreading our wings so we will give a holistic support for victims to feel empowered to go to court and face the person you are accusing to be able to reduce crime significantly,” Sampson-Browne said. She added: “We have male officers in five stations so men can feel comfortable—we want them to be visible. From October 14, we will launch nine victim support groups.” “Anybody who is traumatised by...crime we will work with you.”
“Once you make a report...we will come and sit with you for statements, identification parades or network agencies. We are doing this to bridge between the police and communities,” Sampson-Browne said. “It is a crime fighting initiative. If crime occurs, we kick in, we come in,” she said.
Sampson-Browne said there were three officers in San Fernando, two in Chaguanas, two in Carenage, two in Morvant and two in Arouca. Sampson-Browne said 20 professional civilians had been working at the model stations across the country. “These were placed at the model stations in San Fernando, Arouca, Morvant, Chaguanas and Carenage. This was broken down to domestic violence and sexual offences,” she said. Sampson-Browne said the central family who were robbed and sexually assaulted had been receiving support from the unit. She said 20 civilian officers were on call 24 hours a day and from 6 am to 6 pm. They would be assigned to the Sangre Grande, Fyzabad Police Stations, Anti-Kidnapping Unit and Homicide Bureau. Sampson-Browne said over 300 victims of crime received support from the unit during the past three years.