Friday 10 July, 2020

Griffith: No FOIA request received yet on mask-wearing policy

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said that he has not yet received a request for information regarding the use of masks by police officers. 

In a statement Tuesday, Griffith said he noted documents shared via social media by opposition member Devant Maharaj showing a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the use of masks within the police service.

However, he said he has not yet received the request.

"Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith notes with interest a social media post made by Devant Maharaj on Monday 27th May, 2019, about another individual who claims to have sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the CoP, seeking clarification on the use of face masks by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS)."

"The FOIA request has not reached the Office of the Commissioner of Police, yet it has been plastered on social media by Devant Maharaj, who seems to have direct knowledge of the origins of the request."

Griffith emphasised that masks are used by police forces worldwide. 

"The use of face masks by police officers in the execution of their duties is a practice used world-wide for decades for obvious safety and security reasons. He says he shudders to think that persons would deliberately want to have police officers targeted and their families put in harm’s way, given the very dangerous nature of their jobs."

"Commissioner Griffith notes interestingly, that this post has been shared even before the request has reached his desk. This seemingly points to a disingenuous agenda meant to create sensationalism and controversy, and the CoP questions if such an action will assist in keeping citizens safe or reduce crime in this country?" The release said.

According to a post shared by Maharaj, requests were made for any documents, guidelines or policies regarding the use of masks by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, and the conditions under which they were authorised to wear them.

The request said if the documents were not sent within the specified time, the client would file for Judicial Review. 

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