Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Griffith denies verbally abusing female officer

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has rubbished a newspaper report in which he was accused of threatening and verbally abusing a female police officer.

In response to an article published in the Sunday Express, Commissioner Griffith said there was no truth to the accusations contained in the report.

The report said the officer wrote to the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) about oppressive and tyrannical conduct on Griffith’s part.

The Police Commissioner launched a scathing attack on the journalist who wrote the article, accusing her of engaging in “usual” attacks on the Police Service and the Commissioner.

“The actions of this journalist are very alarming, as her view of ‘investigative journalism’ is to repeatedly attack one particular agency. The thirst to smear the good name and Office of the Commissioner of Police appears to be at any cost, in the hope of vilifying the Commissioner,” Griffith said.

He said there was no evidence to support the allegations made by the officer in question.

Further, he said, officers who air their grievances on social media are only working to undermine the Police Service, given its current perception.

“The action of publicising information whether true or false which surrounds the posting of negative and critical comments via social media by a police officer undermines an already struggling disciplinary process within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service inherited by the Commissioner of Police,” he said.

Griffith said in spite of this, he remains undeterred in his quest to improve the discipline within the Police Service.

Below is the full statement from the Police Commissioner:

In response to the article published in the Trinidad Express, the Commissioner of Police says as follows: - At no time was Woman Police Constable (WPC) Beckles ever threatened or verbally abused by the Commissioner of Police. The article by this journalist follows the usual trend of attacking the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and its Commissioner.

It is therefore curious that it has been suggested in this article, that a letter has been sent to the Police Service Commission and other institutions, but this has not been brought to the attention of the Commissioner of Police, nor has he received any such correspondence, this begs the question, where did the reporter get such information?

The article splashed on the front page of the Trinidad Express by this ‘investigative journalist’ fails to ask the most important question, why did the Commissioner want to speak to this officer? Section 138 of the Police Service Regulations is clearly meant to prevent police officers from making public comments through any medium.

The Commissioner notes with great concern that one officer who has issues, with no evidence to support her claim, has her allegations boldly displayed in a front-page article of the Trinidad Express, therefore, it appears that anyone who makes disparaging remarks and stories adverse to the CoP and TTPS is encouraged to go to this particular journalist.

In an effort to instill discipline and remove rogue elements from the Police Service, the CoP has also noted that certain officers have taken to social media to make public, their administrative issues and grievances, whether trivial or not, using social media whilst also making unsavoury comments publicly about the CoP and the TTPS, in a bid to seek sympathy and solidarity for their plight which as stated before is contrary to the Police Service Regulations.

Such actions if condoned can only serve to undermine the Police Service and encourage ill-discipline within the length and breadth of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

This is something that the CoP has been dealing with, thus, such irresponsible journalism does not help in providing what the country deserves, which is a disciplined Police Service. To suggest that the Commissioner of Police utilizes resources in any manner other than in the interest of the country is nothing short of frivolous and vexatious, particularly when social media is an open platform, gaping plainly open for any user to see.

The suggestion that male officers need to have a third party present during a meeting is nothing short of a draconian and archaic suggestion, and further to which, the statements and questions advanced speak in a factual tone, which is therefore meant to mislead the public.

The actions of this journalist are very alarming, as her view of ‘investigative journalism’ is to repeatedly attack one particular agency. The thirst to smear the good name and Office of the Commissioner of Police appears to be at any cost, in the hope of vilifying the Commissioner.

The action of publicizing information whether true or false which surrounds the posting of negative and critical comments via social media by a police officer undermines an already struggling disciplinary process within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service inherited by the Commissioner of Police. Nevertheless, the Commissioner of Police is undeterred in his quest to improve the discipline within the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

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