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Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday she had given an order to “unleash the dogs of war” against criminals. Speaking at the official opening of the Piarco Police Station yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said her government would use anything necessary to restore law and order in the country. Her comments came on the heels of a rash of police killings which have triggered criticism against police for the use of excessive force.
She said: “Know this, I am prepared to commit every resource possible, explore all options available, utilise any initiatives used anywhere with success in ensuring we reclaim our country from the criminals who want to feel emboldened. Those days are over.
“The order is out, unleash the dogs of war on those who flout the law and create havoc. We must bring them to their knees and let justice prevail and let peace and law and order be restored.”
Speaking on the 26 police killings for the year, Persad-Bissessar called for balance to such reports, revealing that over the past two years there have been 63 police who were shot in the line of duty and four who were killed.
She said that where there are allegations of injustice, an independent and proper investigation must be conducted, and once there was evidence of guilt then the offenders should face the full brunt of the law. She added: “We will not tolerate rogue officers and they will be stamped out wherever they are found so the Police Complaints Authority and other agencies have their work cut out. “Having said that I ask that we don’t jump to conclusions, I am concerned with more than passing interest the amount of people shot and killed by police officers.
“At the same time I don’t see a list of the police officers shot at. I do not see the list of the number of police injured and killed. We must see the other side of the picture. We must not see one side.”
The Prime Minister said that the police who put their lives at risk daily should be given consideration and gratitude for the service. She added that the families of police should also be considered as they too are affected by negative comments against the lawmen.
The Prime Minister said Piarco was the second police station opened during her term so far while an additional six were scheduled to be completed by next year. She said the Police Service had 595 police vehicles with global positioning system (GPS) and would get an additional 343 cars.
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said the police station, which was handed over to the police on February 24, was completed in December last year after construction began on July 23, 2012.
He said it was completed within time and in budget, costing $39 million. It has statement rooms, libraries with multi-media and internet access, victim recovery rooms, counselling rooms, dormitories, gym and kitchen.
The Maloney and Cumuto Police Stations have been completed and would be handed over soon, he said, with 16 fire stations, which include the Manzanilla, Brasso and Black Rock, Tobago, fire stations to be constructed soon.