Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Cops caught escorting drivers from fetes for cash

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said disciplinary action will be taken against officers who were caught escorting patrons through traffic after a Carnival fete for money.

Speaking to LoopTT, Commissioner Griffith said the incident occurred during a visit to a Carnival fete in Chaguaramas over the weekend.

Griffith said he was in charge of the operation which visited the event when they saw police vehicles escorting drivers through traffic with their sirens on.

Drivers admitted paying officers up to $1,000 for a police escort in order to evade traffic.

“I was in charge of this operation, we stopped several police vehicles that were seen leaving Chaguaramas with sirens blazing and escorting others with their hazard lights on.”

“When I went to the individuals they admitted that they had paid from $600 to $1,000 (to be escorted). I will be taking disciplinary action,” he said.

Griffith said the officers would be removed from the Task Force and the incident would be noted on their files.

Griffith said officers are not to use state vehicles for their personal convenience or personal remuneration.

“I have no intention to allow this to continue where officers can abuse their privileges and the assets provided by the state, which should be used to protect and serve, not conveniently for extra remuneration,” he said.

Griffith added that several of the vehicles were not even assigned to duties within Chaguaramas, but had been assigned elsewhere.

“These vehicles were not even supposed to be in the West, they were supposed to be patrolling other areas. This obviously affects the police service,” he said.

Griffith is warning others who seek to avoid traffic by similar unethical means.

Citizens should not facilitate these officers when they offer to do this. This is creating added traffic congestion and is also causing the police service to lose the operational service of these vehicles which are not where they are supposed to be.”

Griffith said the police service is employing extra measures this Carnival in order to ensure safety and the free flow of traffic to and from each event.

“It’s not going to be the norm, we’ll be treating every Carnival event as an operation. We’re going to the event, doing a walk-through with promoters, looking at safety concerns and threat assessments, looking at where officers need to be stationed and ensuring there’s proper communication.

“We’re also making sure patrons can get to the venue with the least amount of traffic congestion, and have them leave the venue with the least amount of traffic. What we’re trying to do is make this the best and safest Carnival ever,” he said.

Griffith said almost 5,000 patrons left the fete in Chaguaramas on Sunday morning, which was handled smoothly compared to years past. 

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