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Tackling violent crime the number one aim—top cop
Successfully tackling violent crime has been identified as the number one aim of the T&T Police Service. Making the announcement yesterday was acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams who spoke at his first media conference held at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain. But Williams also admitted that he did not possess all the ideas to fight crime.
The acting top cop said he met with members of the police executive yesterday to formulate strategies to tackle violent crime. “Violent crime fuels crime in the country and it is critical at this juncture that focus be placed on violent crime...We are finalising an initiative to address violent crime,” he said. Saying the 6,000 officers who comprised the T&T Police Service must be utilised, Williams said they must be placed on the front line.
“They must be actively involved in policing activities where there is direct contact with the public...That’s one thing which would obviously be different from the past,” he said He said the Police Service was also faced with a shortage of manpower but there are plans to improve the situation. “But it is critical for us to recognise as an organisation that violent crime is the number one challenge for the Caribbean, not only for Trinidad and Tobago, and that is where the focus has to lie,” Williams said.
“I as the leader at this point in time will not be the one with all the ideas. Every single police officer can have important view points to share...we are creating the opportunity for officers to share views and recommendations on how we can improve the way we police Trinidad and Tobago.” But he said there was no “fixed solution” to address violent crime.
“Otherwise violent crime would have been eliminated in the past...but it hasn’t, so we are still confronted with this in the present, so as leaders in the organisation we have to find innovative ways to address it,” the acting CoP said. “Things that we see working we would continue with them and those that are not working we would change those.
“The public would never forgive us if we say we are facing a situation which is insurmountable, so our thrust is to do everything possible as leaders in the organisation.” Williams said his anti-crime plans would be shaped by input from the police executive, but also admitted that previous strategies have not been effective.
“We will have to find innovative ways of addressing the problem because some of the things which have been utilised over the years have not worked well.” he said. He said it would also be unfair to criticise former Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs regarding his anti-crime strategies because such initiatives involved all executive members.
“We operated as an executive team so things were not done exclusively by Gibbs or Ewatski... there were things which were done by the Police Service,” Williams said. He said the future of the 21st-century policing initiative still hangs in the balance. “The 21st-century policing initiative was in fact focused to a large extent on providing quality services to the citizens,” he said.
“As an organisation, we will continue with the focus of delivering high-quality policing service. There are things which by way of changes will take place and there are things which have been implemented which will be maintained.”
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