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Ramesar welcomes US training for cops
President of the Police Social and Welfare Association Sgt Anand Ramesar has expressed support for government’s plans to provide international training for 200 local police officers. However, he is sceptical that police morale would be boosted if Government brings in one of America’s most renowned crime-fighters, Bill Bratton, to lecture on law enforcement.
National Security Minister Jack Warner said on Thursday that he wanted to bring in Bratton, a former top cop in Los Angeles and New York, known for his success in reducing crime by implementing a zero-tolerance strategy. Ramesar admitted the police were in dire need of detection and interrogation training.
“Such training will always benefit the Police Service and it must be part of the overall strategic plan for the organisation...However, when we bring in foreigners, there is no transfer of knowledge,” Ramesar said. He said the skills learnt through training could not be implemented because of a lack of facilities.
“What is being taught to police officers does not sit properly into the organisational culture of the Police Service and the gang culture that exists in T&T,” he said. “In a lot of instances what appears to be a good idea at first is not transferred and managed properly, so that it turns out that it is not the best way to utilise the resources of the TTPS.
“In a lot of instances the mechanisms and the facilities are not in place in the organisation for police officers who acquired certain knowledge.” Ramesar expressed hope that they might receive training in detection and interrogation. “Interrogation appears to be a poor skill in the TTPS...One of the major blows of the TTPS is the number of cases we lost as a result of poor practices in the interrogation of suspects,” he said.
He said these poor practices included coercion, infringement of rights and persuasion. “One of the issues that the service needs to probe is the occurrence of false confession...These are areas that can go a long way in developing the TTPS in terms of accountability and responsibility,” he said.
Ramesar said many local police preferred the use of local rather than foreign content. He also said the use of crime statistics to assess the success of the Police Service should be revamped.
“Instead of using statistics to demonstrate whether we are doing good or bad, there should be a substantive focus on performance appraisal and other management tools so we are able to hold police officers accountable,” he said. Chairman of the Police Service Commission Prof Ramesh Deosaran said the Government’s latest crime initiative should be part of a well-planned programme.
“If a proper programme is laid out and the visit of the New York police chief works, the country will benefit,” Deosaran said. “The police also need to win public support.” Deosaran said having a properly sanitised Police Service and adequate human resources operating within a competent framework could bring success to the newest crime-fighting venture.
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