United National Congress whip David Lee is calling for mandatory body cameras for all members of the T&T Police Service.
“Twenty-two citizens who were alive on the day the Prime Minister left T&T are now murdered. An additional six were killed by police. Our murder rate now stands at 410 (compared to 265 this time last year) on track for this year recording the most murders in our history,” Charles said at a media conference at the Office of the Opposition in Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
“UNC is calling for immediate mandatory use of body cameras for all 10,000 police officers - at least those thousands in frontline operations.”
Claiming there are only 1,600 body cameras available for use by officers, Charles added, “Body cams will provide irrefutable visual evidence concerning circumstances surrounding any shootings by police. It ensures all interactions between citizens and the TTPS are recorded ... and can provide needed assurance that all police shootings conformed to law and were necessary ... To absolve good policemen and women from being tarnished by a broad brush of criminality, use of body cams must be made mandatory.”
Charles said the T&T Police Social and Welfare Association (TTPSWA) must ensure officers are protected by calling for body cams for all frontline officers.
“If TTPSWA don’t insist, then they’re abdicating their responsibility to officers who operate within the law and wish the world to know.
He added, “Our Chief Justice should also be ashamed that the whole world knows that the institution over which he presides is best known for its sloth, incompetence, slowness and indolence. Like Rowley, he too racks up frequent flyer miles.”
Charles said a UNC government will try to ensure body cams for all frontline officers and have 24/7 CCTV coverage in hotspot areas, including Tunapuna and Aripo.
A Sunday Guardian exclusive yesterday highlighted the fact that Tunapuna was now considered a crime hotspot by the TTPS, following a proliferation fof gang activity.
UNC will also re-examine the Police Complaints Authority and empower it along the lines of the Special Investigative Unit.
Charles, who claimed the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) was a “spy agency,” questioned its contribution to fighting crime and said a UNC government would cut SSA’s $353 million funding by $100m. The money would go to crime prevention/rehabilitation.
“We’re calling for an urgent performance audit on the SSA,” he said.
Charles “bouffed” the “One Percenters” and swing voters, accusing the latter of being responsible for voting in the PNM. He said they have the responsibility to “save us.”