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Now cops want pepper spray, tasers

Published: 
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Michael Seales

Police officers are calling for pepper spray and taser guns to assist them in their fight against crime. These are the demands being made by the Police Service Social and Welfare Association. The association’s secretary, acting Insp Michael Seales, in a telephone interview yesterday said for the Police Service to properly fight crime and deal with suspects according to first-world standards, such non-lethal weapons must be made available. Seales said for far too long officers have been accused of giving the organisation a bad name when it came to dealing with members of the public and alleged perpetrators. He was responding to suggestions that for the Police Service to partner with the New York Police Department (NYPD) would only be spinning top in mud, as it would result in T&T’s adopting foreign methods which could not work in this country.

 

 

Saying pepper spray and tasers were used by “first world” police departments, Seales said if local officers partnered with the NYPD, one of the fundamental policing aspects they would be exposed to was how to deal with the community, handle volatile situations and how to properly arrest suspects. Over the weekend, National Security Minister Gary Griffith said T&T wanted to further its relationship with William “Bill” Bratton, who was reappointed head of the NYPD last month. Seales said very often complaints have been made to the Police Complaints Authority about police using brute and unnecessary force. Such training from the NYPD and the availability of pepper spray and tasers would change that, he felt. “In many instance when the police has to arrest someone it ends in a confrontation, whether violent or not  but there is always some sort of confrontation. “When the police say, ‘gentlemen, turn around, you are under arrest,’ we find this does not work. Instead of an officer pulling his firearm, which could result in further confrontation, the pepper spray and taser would be other measures which they could use to appropriately handle a suspect,” Seales said.

 

Saying the police use of a gun should be a “last resort and in the defence of life,” Seales urged officers “not to live in the past”  where a closed fist was regularly seen as an absolute avenue in combating crime and making arrests. “We do not want a situation where our officers must feel there must be a thirst for blood to deal with people. We want our officers to be professional, to have professional tools and to be exposed to professional training,” Seales said. The association’s president, acting Insp Anand Ramesar, said the training with the NYPD must not be “pigeonholed” only to give the perception that local police would be exposed to a culture and methods which may be impractical for T&T. Ramesar said in many court matters, the method of arrests was “often found wanting.” Hailing Griffith for thinking outside the box, Ramesar said previously officers at management level would be exposed to extensive overseas training. “What used to be the case was, these officers who are close to retiring would go to the US or the UK. “The training with the NYPD would ensure that (everyone) from constable to assistant police commissioner has the opportunity to go. We have already compiled a very long list of the names of officers who want to train with the NYPD, ” Ramesar said.

 

 

Spinning top in mud—Nizam

When it comes to solving crime and implementing methods to improve the Police Service, T&T is only going around in circles. Former head of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed yesterday said Griffith owed it to the nation to spell out exactly how local police would be partnering with the NYPD and what such training programmes entailed. Mohammed said while people wanted to support the Government in the fight against crime, piecemeal efforts would not work.

 

In 2010, six police officers were charged with crimes linked to the arrest and beating of three men shocked with a taser gun at the Chaguanas Police Station. Sgt Rasool Balkaran and constables Elton Charlerie, Lyndon Hosein, Ramesh Boodram, Veda Persad and Samlal Seepersad were granted bail of $75,000 each when they appeared before Chaguanas magistrate Gillian Scotland. Brothers Randy, 21, and Ricardo Youk-See, 28, and neighbour Kyron Baptiste, 18, all of Tunapuna, reported they were beaten, tortured and threatened with death for close to five hours by policemen on the night of March 11 at the station. 

 

Cops charged with illegal use

In 2010, six police officers were charged with crimes linked to the arrest and beating of three men shocked with a taser gun at the Chaguanas Police Station. Sgt Rasool Balkaran and constables Elton Charlerie, Lyndon Hosein, Ramesh Boodram, Veda Persad and Samlal Seepersad were granted bail of $75,000 each when they appeared before Chaguanas magistrate Gillian Scotland. Brothers Randy, 21, and Ricardo Youk-See, 28, and neighbour Kyron Baptiste, 18, all of Tunapuna, reported they were beaten, tortured and threatened with death for close to five hours by policemen on the night of March 11 at the station.