Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Seales: Comfort police came like thief in the night
Secretary of the Police Social and Welfare Association, acting Inspector Michael Seales, says news of the Community Comfort Patrol (CCP) programme “came like a thief in the night” to the association’s members. Seales said the association had no knowledge about the CCP, which is a joint initiative between the Ministry of National Security and the Private Security Network Commission (PSNC).
The CCP will utilise private security companies belonging to the PSNC to patrol residential areas and housing developments to assist with crime prevention. It is also the intention of the ministry to align the CCP programme with the Rapid Response Unit (RRU). On Tuesday, at a public meeting in St Augustine, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley took issue with the CCP, stating that there were untrained, unknown people driving in strange cars throughout neighbourhoods pretending to be police.
The programme was launched on Thursday at the Police Academy, St James, by National Security Minister Gary Griffith. Since June 16 the CCP was introduced specifically to patrol areas along the East-West Corridor. However, the CCP will soon be expanded to Pleasantville, Union Hall, Golconda and Chaguanas. Seales said while the association understood the concept of the CCP, there were concerns “with the persons who may fill the vacancies of those jobs.”
He said the TT Police Service (TTPS) had no discussion with the association, nor were they told how the RRU would work with private security companies and how many police officers would be assigned to the programme. “We have no details. We have said that we don’t want confrontation with the terms and conditions of our members in the performance of their duties.” He said he was not sure if the private security officers would respond to distress calls and then notify the police.
“Our executive are in discussions with our central committee members on the matter. After we make a conclusive determination as to what is really happening we will decide.” He said CCP was never mentioned or considered in the TTPS’ three-year strategic plan, which the association had in its possession. Asked how the idea was conceptualised, Seales said it was “a government policy” to treat with crime issues and the fear of crime.
Areas of patrol