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Cops continue Laventille crime plan indefinitely
The ongoing police initiative in the Laventille community, originally scheduled to end today, will continue indefinitely. However, head of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) Supt Carlton Alleyne yesterday said discussions will be held with acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to implement a shift system so officers will be rotated every two weeks.
Alleyne’s statement followed concerns expressed by officers on the ground that they are overworked and exhausted. Joint army and police patrols were introduced two weeks ago in the Laventille area to quell gang violence. The violence claimed several lives and left more than 20 homeless after homes at Clifton Hill, Laventille, were set ablaze by feuding gang members.
Praising the work already done by officers, Alleyne said, “Today (yesterday) we met with the men on the ground, who are actually out there doing the patrols, as to how they feel and the way forward. We need to make everyone comfortable and a suggestion has been put forward for a rotation system every two weeks.”
However, some of the officers the T&T Guardian spoke to yesterday denied they were consulted about the way forward. When Williams was contacted, he confirmed the initiative would continue. However, Williams is confident the situation in Laventille will improve as long as the police and residents “deal with the crime problem together.” He said, “The TTPS is seeking to facilitate improvements in the Laventille community and when that works out, and Laventille is once again safe and peaceful, then the initiative will come to an end.”
Referring to statistics, Williams added, “Crime has been significantly reduced in 2013, compared to the same period for 2012. We have experienced close to a 24 per cent reduction in serious crimes. We have experienced a challenge at a particular point as there has been close to a 36 per cent increase in murders and that is what sends panic across the country and causes fear to rise.”
Meanwhile, president of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Sgt Anand Ramesar, said special reserve police officers can be used to supplement the existing team of officers at work in Laventille.
However, he warned, “There must be a clear understanding in terms of the strategy that is in place and what they are doing and how they are contributing to the required outcome. We would like to suggest to the CoP that what he needs to do is meet with officers and communicate directly with them, but we can assure him of the necessary support to go that extra distance.”
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