When Gold Commander in charge of security operations for Carnival 2015, DCP Harold Phillip warned revellers not to wineaggressively on his police officers, he failed to issue any such warning to his officers. The result: at least one officer caught on camera "taking a wine."A nine-second video posted to Facebook yesterday depicted the officer in full uniform gyrating on a female patron at a breakfast party in west Trinidad. Up to 4 pm, the video had been shared 40,118 times.
On February 4, during a media briefing on Carnival safety Phillip said: "Well, certainly being lewd in the public is in fact an offence and with respect to wining on police officers performing duties, we will ask the public to desist in so doing. It normally goes with the time but we also expect the officer to act responsibly and we also hope the public will conduct themselves in a responsible manner."
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, public information officer Joanne Archie said the officer's conduct will have to be investigated before anything further could be said or done."That could be a breach of discipline according to police regulations," Archie said, adding that even if the officer had completed his duty he ought not to have been in uniform gyrating on a patron.
Also commenting on the video, secretary of the Police Social and Welfare Association Insp Michael Seales said he hoped that the officer in question is not charged. Seales said in the culture of this country the officer and the patron were "thoroughly enjoying themselves" and officials should consider the situation as just part of T&T culture.
He added that punishing the officer might bring about more harm than good and with the existing strain on officers who are seeking to settle wage negotiations, a charge against the officer may further dampen their spirits.
The incident could even bolster relations between the police and the public, Seales said, although he admitted that it was the first time he had seen of a uniformed officer gyrating in that way, since the norm was for officers to be ambushed by wining revellers, without reciprocating."I did not see a rebutt from the officer or the patron," Seales said.