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Mayor: Give city cops bigger guns
Port-of-Spain municipal police want bigger guns to fight criminals, particularily when overseeing jobs in east Port-of-Spain. City mayor Louis Lee Sing made the recommendation at a joint select committee (JSC) meeting at Parliament, yesterday. He said the municipal police were armed with “sidearms and pump-action shotguns “which don’t reach very far.”
Their eqipment “is not in sync with what is required to service the hot spots and therefore we cannot go in there with a Beretta. We have to go in there with something much more powerful,” Lee Sing said. He said a request to the police commissioner three years ago to upgrade the corporation’s firearms was denied, and he believed the reason the request was turned down was that the city corporation’s CEO, Winifred David, was a civilian and therefore the approval for more sophisticated weapons could not be granted.
He said he was not certain whether this was the first time such a request was turned down, as he was not mayor at the time. Asked if there would be another request, Lee Sing said he expected David and the corporation’s Superintendent of Police, Carlton Pedro, to ask the police commissioner again.
Saying the municipal officers worked “ten times harder than the ordinary police,” Lee Sing said: “The citizenry is living in perilous times and there must be effective tools to do the job. “No one could convince me otherwise that police require very good weaponry to deal with and combat crime in this country,” he added.
He said despite the municipal officers working hand-in-hand with the regular officers, namely those from the Besson Street and St James Police Station, there was still a need to properly arm the municipal police. He added that not in all instances would the regular police accompany the municipal officers to do a job. “There are places in Port-of-Spain we go to do remedial or restoration work, that is fixing sidewalks, replacing manholes or fixing box drains,” the mayor said.
“When we go you meet negative elements in the society. If the police are there with good weaponry you may not be harassed or you may still be harassed. “We have had a situation at Clifton Circular in Laventille where a man was shot on the job. We need the officers to have the right equipment when they are on the job.”
Asked if the issue of training the municipal police was the problem, Lee Sing said they receive the same training as ordinary police. He said municipal officers seldom remained in the corporation. “We often spend a lot of money to train our officers. It is about $20,000 to $30,000 pertaining to sessions and after we train them in a year or two they leave and go into the Police Service.”
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