Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has apologised to residents of Gulf View for a police raid in the community almost six months ago which left many of the residents shocked and traumatised.
His apology came during a meeting between residents of the San Fernando area on Wednesday evening.
“I do apologise, just like I would apologise for the same situations that would have taken place on many occasions in similar operations in Beetham, Morvant and Laventille and other areas deemed a hot spot,” he said.
However, his apology came amongst his explanation that citizens would occasionally experience inconveniences while the police are conducting their duties to fight crime. He said he noticed in the country that citizens often call for change, however, they believe “it must not affect me.”
“It can’t work that way. At times there would be decisions taken by the police service that is for the bigger picture,” he said.
On May 3, SORT officers broke into seven homes during a raid in the Gulf View area leading to the arrest of one man. However residents claimed it was an act of political victimisation, racial discrimination and victimisation. Despite this, an investigation following the incident, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) said it found no evidence of misconduct on the part of any police officer during the raid.
On Wednesday, he said the operation was aimed at rescuing a kidnapping victim to which he asked the residents:
“If you ever had an avenue to pin point in a certain area your loved one who was being kidnapped who could be killed; would you feel that the police had a right to go in and try and find that individual? Again it is within the law.”
A statement issued by the Police Service yesterday said that Griffith the meeting formed part of Commissioner Griffith’s ongoing transformational efforts to strengthen stakeholder partnerships and community engagement with all members of Parliament across all 41 constituencies within the nine policing divisions of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
It said that among the issues raised by members, were concerns about the use of the blue flashing lights, as well as suggestions for school intervention which they believed would allow for a dramatic change in the issues that officers have to deal with.
“Commissioner Griffith assured the gathering that TTPS’ resources are being utilised to effectively reduce crime and the fear of crime in T&T,” the statement said.
It added: “He further added that the public should utilise the new and improved E-999 system, as well as the new TTPS Mobile App. He informed residents of the plan for new initiatives; Street Talk-‘Big Brother Mentorship’, Establishment of a Schools Anti-Violence Unit and Collaborating with Ministry of Education on School Security Unit. The new E-999 service is being overhauled to allow for greater efficiency, and as such the Commissioner said “through this system, officers of the Emergency Response Patrol Team are able to answer and provide services to persons in a shorter timeframe.”