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Cops blame ‘executive’ for high crime rate
With the crime situation spiralling out of the control and the increasing lack of public confidence in the Police Service, police officers have now levelled criticism against the organisation’s executive, branding Deputy Police Commissioners (DCP) Mervyn Richardson and acting DCPs Raymond Craig and Simon Alexis as failures, demanding they be immediately dismissed.
Richardson, Craig and Alexis must also be blamed for the increase in murders and the low detection rate because they have failed to implement proper anti-crime strategies, said president of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association acting inspector Anand Ramesar yesterday. And once removed and replaced with competent people there would be a marked reduction in crime, Ramesar added.
Craig and Alexis, who were assistant police commissioners (ACP), were elevated to the post of acting DCPs with the resignation of former police commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and DCP Jack Ewatski in July last year. Richardson, a former deputy director of investigations at the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) was appointed a DCP in March 2011. Craig is in charge of operations, Alexis is head of administration and Richardson is in charge of crime.
Ramesar said during recent meetings the general consensus among the membership was disappointment with the performance of Richardson, Craig and Alexis and the time had come for them to leave office. He said officers were also angry that none of the DCPs have been leading the charge in field operations and were instead in their air-conditioned offices.
Ramesar also criticised the Police Service Commission (PSC) for failing to properly evaluate the deficiencies of the DCPs and appoint more capable officers.
While admitting acting police commissioner Stephen Williams could do “much more” to effectively take charge of the crime situation he said it would be unfair to label the acting top cop as a failure because Williams was being supported by an already failed executive. “I believe Mr Williams can do more but it is difficult for the commissioner of police to perform in a desirable manner because there continues to be failing performances at the DCP level especially when it comes to strategy and out-of-the-box thinking...Richardson, Craig and Alexis have not validated any qualities which warrants their retention...they really can’t expect to be in the running for the post because they have already been there and failed. “While Mr Williams has to take responsibility because he is at the helm the Police Service is not a one-man-show,” Ramesar added.
Saying Craig and Alexis were promoted on seniority rather than meritocracy, Ramesar also accused the commission of failing to appoint more capable officers.
Asked whether the association would be writing the commission regarding their concerns Ramesar responded, “There is no point on writing what is obvious.”
Bulk policing not the answer
Last Friday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar ordered police to beef-up their strategies and increase their visibility. But to efficiently tackle crime, Ramesar said, roadblocks were not the answer. Describing Richardson, Craig and Alexis as being from the “old school” Ramesar said they were yet to fully understand the country’s culture to address crime situation. “We need officers who are more innovative in their strategic planning and use the technology and equipment more effectively. “What we are seeing is “bulk policing” in that there is quantity but not quality. All we are seeing is the police conducting roadblocks and random searches...we don’t see DCPs leaving their officers to be out on the field to aggressively lead the charge. Ramesar said what was needed was data driven and evidence-based policing aligned with a patrol strategy that would paralyse movement of gangs in targeted areas. “There must also be an enhanced technology oriented system that utilise Global Positioning System (GPS), closed-circuit television (CCTV) and mobile patrols.”
When contacted yesterday Richardson and Craig said they would not comment on Ramesar’s statements. Calls to Alexis’ cell phone went unanswered yesterday. Voice messages left were not returned.
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