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Police to help media in high-risk areas
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams yesterday suggested that media workers seek police assistance before venturing into high-risk areas to carry out their assignments. Williams expressed concern over reports that media personnel were shot at on Saturday in Laventille, as they attempted to interview relatives of murder victim Alma Noray, 49, of Marcano Quarry, Laventille. Noray was killed as she slept at her home around 4.30 am on Saturday.
Warring gangs in the area shot at reporters and photographers who were following up on the story around 4 pm on Saturday. The journalists were forced to seek cover and call for police to escort. Head of the Port-of-Spain Division, ASP Ajith Persad, sent officers into the area on two separate occasions to escort media personnel.
Williams told the T&T Guardian: “Going with what I have read, I would express concern for members of the media proceeding to high-risk areas because as the name speaks, they are exposing themselves to serious risk. I would proffer by suggestion, if we are alerted to the intentions of the media, we can, in fact, have an obvious policing presence which can prevent situations like those described by the media from occurring.”
However, he was quick to add: “This does not mean we will give the media bodyguards to go on assignments.” Williams urged media personnel to think about security concerns before going into some situations. “We could provide a buffer for the media,” he said. The acting CoP said he was not deterred in any way by the six murders that occurred during the 24-hour period between Friday and Saturday.
“We had a peaceful week and I do not take that as a signal of anything different from what’s been happening over time. Many times, over a 24-hour period, we have had several murders taking place,” he said. Williams added: “The time has come for people to start to care for each other and focus on how we can live together in harmony.”
Commenting on gang warfare in areas such as Laventille, Morvant, Beetham and Port-of-Spain, Williams said: “It is a major concern for us and we are implementing special strategies to take control of that situation and bring some level of peace in a sustainable way in those areas.”
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