San Fernando Jama Masjid worshippers hid in their mosque on Wednesday night when a man walked onto the masjid’s compound and killed the son of a popular People’s National Movement (PNM) activist.
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Toco police ‘stretched thin’
The Toco Police Station is beset by a severe manpower shortage and residents fear that they are not as safe or well-protected from criminals who might take advantage of the situation. A source said the police station should have a full strength of at least two corporals and six constables on one shift and performing three shifts a day. At present, the police station is so chronically understaffed it has one corporal and two constables, down from eight police officers to three on a shift.
Sources said there were SRPs available to assist, however they are not appropriately trained. The situation was so dire that at times there was only one police officer manning the station and it was difficult if not impossible to respond to emergencies or disturbances.
Sources said the police officers were already stretched thin having to cover an extensive area within their jurisdiction—from Salybia to Matelot—as they had to perform duties which entailed patrols, responding to distress calls, dealing with reports, attending court, praedial larceny cases, illegal drugs, break-ins, woundings, shootings, domestic violence and sexual offences. Of grave concern was that criminals were migrating from the designated hot spots and bringing their nefarious activities to the rural community.
CoP, Griffith unaware
When acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams was contacted by the Sunday Guardian yesterday, he said he could comment on the matter as he hadn’t been apprised of what was going on in the Toco Police Station as yet. Williams said he will respond, but first had to find out from the officers about the situation. National Security Minister Gary Griffith said there was a chain of command to be followed and that CoP Williams was the person to speak to get any documentation to verify what was taking place in the Toco Police Station.
Griffith said the report also hasn’t reached him, so he was not in a position to comment on it. He, however, said, he was looking forward to getting as much information from all sources as possible to deal with the matter more effectively.