Seales to Griffith: Polygraph entire Police Service

T&T Po­lice So­cial and Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion (TTP­SWA) pres­i­dent Michael Seales is call­ing on Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith to poly­graph all of­fi­cers in the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS).

Seales made the call yes­ter­day, hours af­ter Grif­fith con­firmed he had trans­ferred sev­er­al of­fi­cers who re­cent­ly re­fused to take vol­un­tary lie de­tec­tor tests.

Speak­ing on CNC 3’s Morn­ing Brew pro­gramme, Seales said the as­so­ci­a­tion was in sup­port of the trans­fers by Grif­fith.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion is al­so call­ing for him (Grif­fith) to let us poly­graph every­one. Let us not make it se­lec­tive...and have it to the point where per­sons are al­leg­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion, let us lev­el the play­ing field and have the test done across the board,” Seales said

On Mon­day, Grif­fith con­firmed that in one sta­tion in the south­west­ern penin­su­la, 15 of 16 po­lice of­fi­cers had re­fused a vol­un­tary poly­graph test. He vowed to clean up the TTPS, say­ing some of­fi­cers were ei­ther try­ing to cov­er for their fel­low of­fi­cers or were turn­ing a blind eye to crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and adding that of­fi­cers must be trust­ed at all counts.

TTP­SWA sec­re­tary Anand Rame­sar al­so told the Guardian Me­dia on Mon­day that 40 of­fi­cers had been trans­ferred from the south­west­ern penin­su­la of Erin, Ce­dros and Ica­cos to in­land sta­tions at Point Fortin, San­ta Flo­ra, Siparia, Fyz­abad and Oropouche. Rame­sar has ad­vised the of­fi­cers to put their com­plaints in writ­ing, fol­low­ing which they will meet with Grif­fith to dis­cuss the is­sue.

At the mo­ment, of­fi­cers at­tached to all spe­cial units, in­clud­ing Spe­cial Branch and Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Re­sponse Teams, must be poly­graphed.

Yes­ter­day, how­ev­er, Seales said the ma­jor­i­ty of the TTPS’s 7,000 of­fi­cers saw no prob­lem in tak­ing the vol­un­tary test.

“Up to now the Com­mis­sion­er has not ap­plied that test to any­one. I see a lot of per­sons talk­ing. I can­not un­der­stand the furore.”

Seales said the point Grif­fith has been try­ing to dri­ve home was about main­tain­ing the TTPS’s im­age.

“If we don’t bat con­sis­tent with le­git­imis­ing the po­lice ser­vice, then we are in­val­i­dat­ing our very ex­is­tence.”

Seales said he did not ex­pect the ser­vice to be di­vid­ed on the move, adding there was a sug­ges­tion that the test should first start with the First Di­vi­sion and se­nior of­fi­cers.

“The point is the as­so­ci­a­tion would not get in­to that type of de­bate. The is­sue for us is hav­ing a po­lice ser­vice that is con­sis­tent with world stan­dards....that world stan­dard must mean we must be be­yond re­proach. To be a le­git­i­mate po­lice force we must stand on the side of truth and stand on the side of what is right,” Seales said.

- by Shaliza Hassanali