Police officers living in hotspots areas and also working there are now expressing concern for the safety of their lives.
“There is, in fact, a concern by all officers who are working in the hot spots areas in terms of the threats put in the public space and we will not cower as a body and we will not be intimidated by the threats,” said Gideon Dickson, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Welfare and Social Association.
Following the shooting of three men by police in Morvant last Friday and the fiery protests in and around the capital of Port-of-Spain on Tuesday, the threats on the lives of police officers have escalated.
One lieutenant from the Rasta City gang also vowed that they would retaliate against the police. The growing dissent and disdain for police officers are also emboldening other men to voice their threats on social media.Dickson speaking to Guardian Media via phone also expressed grave concern over those officers living in hot spot areas and are a target for criminal elements.
“To the officers who live in these areas, I would want to say that your concerns are in fact genuine we at the executive level and the association will be engaging the commissioner of police as it relates to what security measures we can put in place for these officers,” explained Dickson.
One police constable with ten years of service living in the Morvant area said, “Since that police shooting I hearing shots every night. This is the worst I have seen in a while. I applied to the HDC and I am still awaiting assistance. I just have to be praying, when I finish work I go straight home and lock myself inside. These fellas have a lot of firepower and I am still awaiting a response to get my personal firearm,” said the officer speaking on the condition of anonymity.
A female police constable living in the Laventille area said she was shaken after hearing about the firebombing of her police officer’s car in the area on Tuesday night.
“In regards to the threats, I honestly believe every law enforcement officer should be entitled to a licensed firearm and also have a safe living environment. Because when off duty people do target us with the job we do. Also, our families are at risk because they are the first people they tend to use to get to us,” said the female officer.
Police officers detain a group of men on Abbatoir Road, Port-of-Spain during Tuesday’s protest around the city.
COURTESY CLYDE LEWIS
Dickson said they were hoping with the help of the relevant authorities to address the issue of getting the percentage of houses for police officers in at-risk areas increased.
Dickson was confident that despite the present threats the police would continue to do their job to the best of their ability.
“We believe that we are sufficiently trained and equipped to deal with what is out there and if need be we will respond appropriately at all times,” he said.
Meanwhile, the social media threats against police officers continued yesterday as one man in a video said, “You see that girl that the police kill, hear what I telling some of all yuh eh, I not sleeping for the whole week till a police dead!”
The man was making reference to the shooting death of Ornella Greaves who was allegedly shot and killed during a confrontation between police and protestors during Tuesday’s fiery protests.
In another social media video, a man’s voice in darkness is heard hurling obscenities at the police service and vowing to cut down police officers. “Gary yuh (sic) had to do something about yuh (sic) corrupted officers, people go start to kill out all yuh (sic) in this life. Gary watch out eh yuh time cutting close yuh (sic) go get ah (sic) treatment like what Dana Seetahal get and even (expletive) worse they will mash up yuh head better start to send security for your children and them, this thing has worse to (expletive) get, feel this is kicks, police going and start to dead.