Legislation coming to protect servicemen from criminals

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 07:15

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon yesterday gave the assurance that several pieces of legislation and policies are being drafted by the Office of the Attorney General to protect prison and police officers who have become constant targets by the criminal element.

Dillon was speaking at the passing out and induction of 177 prison recruits of the T&T Prison Service at the Golden Grove Prison in Arouca yesterday. He said he would not tolerate violence or murder against civil officers who protect and serve their country.

Delivering the feature address, Dillon said his ministry continues to work with the AG’s office to “reassess the existing prison rules of 1943” as well as introduce a system of paroles, correction and a new justice system for inmates.

He said progress has been made in drafting requisite policies to treat with penalties for threatening, injuring and assaulting of officers in the conduct of their duties.

“These pieces of legislation and policy development will iterate that violence against prison officers will not be tolerated.”

He said all resources are being applied in treating with recent attacks of civil officers, vowing that “no stones” will be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

In congratulating the new officers, Dillon said in today’s world, prison officers are being threatened as great responsibility and expectations rests on their shoulders.

“Do your job in a professional manner and with dignity. The country and people expect that. As guardians of the prison system your task is to protect society and prevent crime.”

Dillon warned the recruits about the dangers of social media, telling them to be wary of what they do and say in the public domain and home.

“The only challenge ahead you must wear your uniform with pride and honour.”

Dillon pleaded with each recruit not to bring their batch down, stating that at times somebody may do something wrong and disappoint their instructors, peers and family.

Commissioner of Prison Gerard Wilson told the recruits that their job was not forb the faint-hearted.

As rookies to an unpredictable environment, Wilson said they would have to deal with inmates who are agitated, frustrated and violent.

Wilson said the Government has been working with the Prison Services First and Second Divisions to formulate legislation that would act as a deterrent and offer greater protection internally and externally to prison officers.

Wilson said if the desire to wear the T&T Prison Service uniform was motivated by making a quick dollar, then their commitment to changing lives would mean nothing.

He said over the years, he observed young officers on probation would do wrong things that are most attractive, as they form attachments with their seniors, advising them that it was “better to be respected than feared” both inside and outside of the prison walls.

Wilson warned the recruits that at times they would have to deal with an unforgiving public.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Shaliza Hassanali)