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Warner: No magic pill in fight against crime
The executive of the Police Service was heavily criticised yesterday as National Security Minister Jack Warner said there was a lack of accountability in the organisation. He also dismissed reports that serious crimes in Western Division were down, adding he was certain that fear was on the increase.
Warner did so while addressing members of the business community at yesterday’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce meeting. Without giving full details of his much anticipated crime plan, the National Security Minister said it included:
• Revamping the E-999 service
• Introducing community-based support officers
• Soft and hard strategies
Warner said when his crime plan was fully unveiled, he did not want people calling it the Warner plan. He said he intended to write to his predecessors John Sandy, Martin Joseph and Howard Chin Lee to determine whether they wanted to make an input. On the shortage of police vehicles and those waiting to be repaired, Warner said this was a serious impediment to fight crime.
Saying there was no magic pill to tackle criminal elements, Warner insisted that a combination of strategies was needed. He said police at the Arouca station received information about the whereabouts of murder suspects linked to the Carapo triple murder on Tuesday. “But when they get in the car and they start it...it can’t start, the transmission gone.”
Warner said when the police tried to use another car, it had no brakes. “Where is the accountability?” Warner questioned. Describing the E-999 service as critical, he added: “We would update our call centre and...put some kind of sanctity in the emergency calls, which must be attended.” The introduction of the community police support officers, he added, would ultimately alleviate fears and create public confidence in the Police Service.
Admitting that public safety was one of the most critical issues facing the nation, Warner added: “Your concern of crime is justified, because it involves not just losses, (but also) hardship, trauma, violence, suffering, injury, grief and loss of life.” On the hard and soft approaches, the National Security Minister said these must work in tandem.
Saying the soft approach was the social approach, Warner said: “We cannot ignore the fact that failures in the education system and other systems in society have led to a large number of people being unemployed and unemployable. “We cannot ignore the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people living below the poverty line who can easily find themselves at a precipice wondering how to feed their hungry children.”
Warner said the softer approach also involved going into communities and demonstrating that positive opinions exist. The National Security Minister also shot back at his detractors who criticised his seeming lack of action. “The objective of these meetings is to evaluate what I have to work with,” he said. “We have looked at the human resources, equipment, technology and other resource issues.
“We have discussed problems and strategies. We have evaluated old strategies to see what we can learn from them.” Warner said he intended to beef up the number of vehicles in the Police Service. He warned, however, “I have instructed that all the air-condition units be removed from the vehicles. “The days for air-condition police...that done.”
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