Last update: 05-Dec-2013 8:03 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams yesterday defended the work of the police in east Port-of-Spain, saying crime was at its lowest in eight years and much of the criticism was unfair. He said the public’s recent criticism of the efforts of his officers in east Port-of-Spain was having an adverse effect on their morale.
In defence of the service, referring to murder statistics dating back to 2008, Williams said: “As of today, we are less than 2012 figures. From this you are getting a direction that crime is only going one way in T&T—downwards.” Williams said murders had spiked in 2008 with a record 547 murders, a far cry from the lower figures today. “We need to be guided by facts. Talk is cheap,” he said. “The facts are that we hit an all-time high in T&T with murders in 2008 at 547.
“You know what the figures in 2011 and 2012 are? Three hundred and fifty-two, and 379. Check the distinction between 547 and 352 and 379.” However, he acknowledged these statistics might not be enough to raise the public’s perception of the Police Service’s performance. He said 2013, “from a policing perspective, using statistics, has been a successful year. “But it is not a successful year in terms of the perception of the public, because the general public would want the society to be free of violence,” he added.
He said the crime situation could not be improved solely by the efforts of the police. “We do in fact know that the Police Service by itself will not be able to effectively address crime to the satisfaction of the citizens of this land, and it is in working in partnership with the clear support of the general citizenry that we would be successful,” Williams said.
“We can only get to that point when we all work together, law-abiding citizens and the police, to make that difference so that the small group of individuals who are hell-bent on committing crime in T&T can be effectively addressed.” He encouraged members of the public to assist the police by providing information on criminal activity. He also told media houses not to publish reports which glorified criminals and gang suspects.
“What we are saying is that it takes co-operation, collaboration and the support of the media for us to address the problems in the land,” Williams said. Assuring the public that the police were working to reduce crime further, he said the service will be increasing its numbers through its annual recruitment drive and is also planning to increase the number of police vehicles available to ensure rapid response and increased presence.
“The T&T Police Service wants to give the general public the assurance that we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of our law-abiding citizens,” Williams said. DCP Mervyn Richardson, who also spoke at yesterday’s weekly police briefing, said the service was sometimes unfairly criticised by the members of the public, who might be misinformed. “We lost six people last week,” he said, referring to a spate of murders in east Port-of-Spain.
“But because of the intervention and things that we did, we saved over 40 lives. So how many have we saved, how many we have moved from there and put into safe houses? “Check that,” Richardson said.
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