Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:03 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Police in Pain
President Anthony Carmona yesterday expressed concern about police officers who are on the front lines of T&T’s battle against crime. He said the wear and tear on police officers engaged in fighting crime is not fully appreciated and is sometimes unforgiving.
Speaking at a cocktail reception hosted by the T&T Police Service (TTPS) at Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, where a toast was made to mark the country’s 51st Independence anniversary, he said: “The daily rituals of picking up bodies takes a toll from us all, more so, from police officers and it may well be impacting on the quality of police investigations and morale in the service.”
Carmona opted not to give the traditional anniversary speech, but spoke about the role of police officers, the public’s expectations of them and the need for the Government and Opposition to work together to fight crime.
He cited the case of Sgt Hayden Manwarren who died after being shot by bandits a few months ago. Although the slain officer was the recipient of a posthumous Independence award, Carmona asked what had happened to his wife and children. He noted that when someone loses their life, not only the victim’s family suffer, but police officers as well. “It is my humble view that we need in the service clinical psychologists to deal with that mental, emotional pain and frustration officers suffer,” he said.
Stating that officers are not machines, Carmona said he too felt pain when he served as a prosecutor and trial judge and saw criminal cases collapse in court. He said technology cannot replace a perceptive eye and clean ears, which are vital for investigations by the TTPS. “Again, we need to impress upon our police officers not to be over zealous and engage in bending the rules of engagement, or by extension the rule of law. As I have indicated, you have no evidence you cannot charge someone.”
Carmona said while officers need to be honest when they interact with the public, of utmost importance was how they conducted their investigations. Speaking to an audience that included Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Carmona said it was difficult to see so many young lives being snuffed out week after week.
“What is even more hurtful is where life is trivialised by being characterised as being gang related,” he said. The President said when a mother weeps over the body of her 16-year-old son “that is a human being. That person is not a statistic. That is a son...a nephew.” He said “the man child was in crisis.”
Addressing Persad-Bissessar and Rowley directly, Carmona said he knew that “in your hearts it hurts everyday when a child falls” and that life was not about making fancy speeches or attending functions. He urged them to join forces to tackle the on-going crisis. “It’s about getting together seriously. We have to do something about it.”
He said he would fail in his responsibility if he did not ask of them “your very serious intervention, collaboration and co-operation to arrest this crisis of crime in the East-West corridor.”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.