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Three probes of ‘Total Policing’

Saturday, September 9, 2017

There have been three investigations into the March 2015 Day of Total Policing which brought traffic to a standstill on major highways across the country and resulted in business activity coming to a halt.

One was by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament in May 2015 which heard from a number of persons, including then head of the Central Division of the Police Service Johnny Abraham who said he felt the action was meant to send a message. That claim was denied by then vice president of the T&T Police Social and Welfare Association (TTPSWA) Inspector Roger Alexander.

In May the JSC, which is headed by Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General Fitzgerald Hinds, criticised acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams for his failure to take disciplinary action against officers involved in the action.

Williams had reportedly been awaiting the final report of the PCA on the matter.

Another report, compiled by Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Vincel Edwards, was and tabled in Parliament in April 2015, three weeks after the action. It found that senior police officers in charge of six of the nine police divisions “lost control of their divisions and stations respectively to a small group of junior officers,” who enacted a “malicious obedience” campaign.

Edwards recommended that those in charge of the divisions be “reprimanded” for their failure to be in control of their officers.

He also expressed concern about the Special Branch, saying it should provide support in terms of intelligence and that its officers should “avoid participating in situations like these.”

The PCA investigation, which was made public yesterday, has recommended disciplinary and criminal action against some of the officers involved in the action.

The entire East-West Corridor was affected by the police action, with traffic extending as far as San Fernando was gridlocked. There was also congestion on the Claude Noel Highway in Tobago and gridlock traffic in Scarborough. RS


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