Griffith gives year in review
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has delivered his first-year-report, outlining the accomplishments made by the police service (TTPS) since he received his instruments of appointment on August 15th, 2018.
In a conference on Friday, Griffith noted the number of changes within the TTPS including:
- Utilising crime-fighting technology (50 cameras installed on vehicles, GPS tracking of police vehicles, 80 body cameras)
- The creation of new police units and the restructuring of current units
- Anti-crime police operations which saw 940 people arrested
- Police Training for officers in various departments including Forensic Science/CSI, Gender-Based Violence, Human Trafficking Policies, New Special Branch Unit, Non-Lethal Devices and Customer Service
- Drug and Polygraph testing for TTPS Officers
- Promotions; 230 regular and SRP officers as well as increased morale within the service
- Over 1500 Firearm Users Licensed (FUL) issued over the last year compared to 651 issued from 2016 - 2018. There are over 15,000 applications for FULs.
- Increased cooperation with international allies; (MOU signed with the NYPD for assistance on crime-fighting, gang warfare, CSI, the crime detection rate etc
- 187 new recruits graduated, 11 police stations upgraded. TTPS Police Operational Headquarters to be established.
- Non-lethal weapons distributed to police - 100 tasters, 500 pepper sprays - for enforcing minimum use of force
- Reduced overtime wage bill from $360 million to $120 million. Reduced recurring expenses, refurbished 50 police vehicles
- Successful ISOS campaign which sees private stakeholders working with the TTPS
What's next for the TTPS?
Commissioner Griffith said in his second year, he intends to continue his efforts to transform and restructure the TTPS.
He put forward the following initiatives:
- Coastal Patrol Unit to be reignited, previously the Police Marine Branch. It will complement the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. The vessels will patrol the shoreline up to two miles out in the Gulf of Paria, swamp and mangroves.
- Establishment of the Gender-Based Violence Unit
- Revamp of Mounted and Canine Branch
- Re-designing of the TTPS uniforms to be practical as well as difficult to copy. The uniform will include badges with the officer's name and regimental number. It is expected to cost roughly $8 million.
- Acquisition of 8 armoured personnel carriers which will transport officers in and out of 'hotspot' areas. Some vehicles will be outfitted to deal with roadblocks including burning tyres etc
- Emergency Response Patrol Vehicles and Highway Patrol Vehicles will receive cameras bringing the total number to 100
- Installation of tablets in TTPS vehicles to provide additional info to officers responding to emergency calls
- Acquisition of Mobile Command Vehicles that would enhance the command and control of major national events
- Additional purchase of tasers and pepper spray for managing unruly crows and persons resisting arrests or being violent
- Number of recruits to increase from 100 to 220 per batch
- Improvement of the E999 system
- Establishment of the Divisional Command Centres
- Individuals will soon be able to file reports online through the TTPS website
- Officers to be certified for the use of firearms. All officers must practice on the range annually to ensure that they are current with their firearms, capable and confident
- Launch of operation Street Talk and other community-related projects. TTPS officers to be trained in Community Policing
Griffith further noted that numerous strategies have been implemented to treat with murders.
This, as he said there has been a 13% reduction in murders when compared to the previous year for the period August 17th to December 31st.
Police survey sees improvement in TTPS rating
- 1,225 people were surveyed and according to the data, 69% rated the TTPS as good or above.
- Women were more satisfied with the TTPS than males.
- There has also been an increase in the confidence of the TTPS; 55% had confidence in the TTPS in 2019 when compared to 35% in the last year.
- As it relates to confidence in the CoP, 76% said they had confidence in Griffith compared to 49% in the previous commissioner in 2018. Meanwhile, there has been a 79% approval rating.
- 36% were not satisfied with the service received by the TTPS.