Last update: 31-Jul-2014 12:03 pm
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Cops to get more firepower
The Government has approved an order of 2,500 9mm pistols to deal with the country’s runaway crime. The Sunday Guardian understands that after several high-powered meetings, Minister of National Security Gary Griffith got approval to order the guns to upgrade the current police stock. The order, the Sunday Guardian understands, has already been placed.
Griffith, at the meetings, steered clear of indicting former national security ministers but did say the police force was ill-equipped to deal with the crime surge, and that the criminal element may be better armed than officers. To offset that inequality, Griffith said the guns were “an urgent necessity.”
In an interview, Griffith confirmed the order of 2,500 guns for the police force. On whether his predecessors failed to properly equip the police service, Griffith only said: “I am not getting into what they did or did not do. That is in the past as far as I am concerned. But yes, we have approved the order for the 2,500 guns.” He said that comes with special training and the establishment of an indoor shooting range for officers to practice.
A second State of Emergency?
This weapon upgrade for the Police Service comes just days after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced an “all hands on deck” approach to dealing with the escalating murder rate. After a meeting with the National Security Council last week, Persad-Bissessar announced that no officer would be allowed on leave and she recalled those who were on leave. The additional weaponry, the Sunday Guardian understands, forms part of a holistic plan to fight crime.
At the meetings, several experts and government ministers discussed different ways to address the crime problem, with one such suggestion being a second State of Emergency. Griffith, in subsequent media interviews, said he did not rule out the possibility of another State of Emergency to curb the spiralling crime rate.
The Government called a State of Emergency back in August 2011 after a particularly bloody weekend left six dead. Now with 24 murders recorded up to yesterday, Griffith admitted to weighing his options to help combat the figures.