Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Griffith revisits Gibbs plan
The 21st-century policing initiative instituted by former Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs has merit and some of its components will be incorporated into the Police Service, according to National Security Minister Gary Griffith. Griffith, in a telephone interview yesterday, said he intended to meet with acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams as soon as possible to discuss the measure. The initiative met with much criticism from the Police Service and Social Welfare Association, which complained that owing to the shift system, its members were being made to work beyond the stipulated 40 hours.
Gibbs and his deputy, Jack Ewatski, launched the initiative in April 2011. After the Canadians resigned in July 2012, Williams scrapped the programme. The association filed an injunction at the Industrial Court, Port-of-Spain, to stop it but it was thrown out. Saying he had no intention of “throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” Griffith added: “I want to seek the advice of acting Commissioner Williams on that matter because there were some very positive elements in the 21st-century policing initiative that can be incorporated in what we intend to do. “You can never really scratch off the initiative. It is something that played a fundamental role in reducing crime and which involves visibility and give the citizens that feeling of comfort.”
He said Government’s proposed Rapid Response Unit was along the lines of the initiative which emphasised high visibility and response on the part of police in less than ten minutes. On plans to transform the Police Service, Griffith said that included continuous training of officers and the purchase of modern tools and equipment. Saying citizens can expect to see a “total rejuvenation” of the police, Griffith added: “They are going to see a better performance of the Police Service, much better than what they are seeing now. “My job is to provide that support mechanism, administrative and financial requirements that they need for them to move forward to be more successful in their operations. “We want the Police Service to have the equipment so that they could perform beyond the call of duty.” He said that would involve several different initiatives, including a proper audit of the Police Service, its numbers, strength, weaknesses operational training and getting the police to work more hand-in-hand with citizens.
About the Initiative
The 21st-century policing initiative was launched in the Western Division on April 4, 2011. It was implemented in Tobago in March 2012 and two months later in Central Division.
The aim was to increase public confidence and foster better customer service, increase patrols through heightened police visibility and ultimately increase the detection rate.
Police were to be based in patrol cars and many police stations were to be shut down.
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