“The safest place in T&T is inside a Carnival fete…”
So says Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, as he weighed in on the current crime situation and the TTPS' readiness for Carnival celebrations.
And the top cop says his men and women officers are equipped and ready to deal with anything and make sure that their presence is felt.
During a drill with various arms of the TTPS at the Police Training Academy on Thursday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says the police aren't being trained to use brute force, but rather, to destabilise potential deadly situations.
“Members of the public who may have an intention to destabilise the country and break the law, what you see here is not intimidation; not a show of force. It is the minimum use of force,” he says. “What we show is, if a large amount of people are trying to break the law through the drills, this is just standard operational procedure.”
A crowd control simulation involving police in full riot gear
But even as the police work towards improving their mandate to protect and serve, crime has seemingly gone unabated. The murder count for the year has surpassed 70.
According to the police commissioner, the recent uptick is not related to the carnival season.
“There is an operational plan for every single event, so probably the safest place to be is attending Carnival fetes,” Commissioner Griffith observes, “So I want the public to be comfortable. There is no need to be fearful; just be careful. We are out in full force at every Carnival event.”
Another crowd control simulation, this time with members of the Police Mounted Branch
Meanwhile, National Security Minister Stuart Young says gangsters are behind the surge in bloodshed. The minister asserts that measures continue to be taken to end their reign of violence.
“What you’re seeing right now is a lot of reprisal with gangs and gang activities leading to wanton shootings at each other. And the type of firearms they have is of major concern to us,” the minister told us.
Minister Young maintains the Opposition's support on legislation aimed at keeping gun offenders off the street is critical to reducing the murder figure.
Story by JESSE RAMDEO
Lead image... The national security minister (left) and police commissioner (right) give assurances that the security forces will ensure everyone is safe this Carnival