Sunday 15 September, 2019

Stuart, Gary deny claims of one police car at Couva Station

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith smiles as he receives police vehicles refurbished by VMCOTT. Photo courtesy The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith smiles as he receives police vehicles refurbished by VMCOTT. Photo courtesy The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

Recently refurbished vehicles returned to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) fleet are expected to assist in bolstering the number of police vehicles assigned to the Couva Police Station.

This, after the Couva-Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce claimed that there is only one working patrol and response vehicle at the Station.

In response to a question from Opposition Senator Anita Haynes on why no additional resources have been allocated to the station in light of the number of vehicles assigned, National Security Minister Stuart Young said there was no need for residents to panic.

He explained that the TTPS has a system in place which dictates how its Rapid Response vehicles are utilised.

The vehicles are fitted with GPS tracking and are also being monitored in three separate locations independent of one other.

Young said burgesses can rest assured that Couva is not left unmanned as the vehicles are not dispatched from the relative police stations.

"That is the context within which to tell the persons in the Couva area and surrounding areas there is absolutely no need to panic because right now when emergency calls come in to E99 the dispatch of vehicles are not done from the nearest police station.

What we are doing is monitoring the closest ERP vehicles are or other vehicles in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and using available technology to get those vehicles to the point of concern in the shortest possible time."

The Minister took note of the 49 refurbished vehicles from VMCOTT being returned to the fleet, stating that Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and his executive will place one or two of those vehicles in the Couva district as supplementation to what is currently in use at the station.

Meanwhile, in response to the Chamber’s concern, Griffith said the required vehicles for Stations in that Division would be provided through the recently acquired refurbished vehicles.

Noting the Chamber's concern that an inadequate number of vehicles at the station will encourage crime, he issued a call to all responsible citizens in future to always think ahead before making public
comments, "as such comments along these lines can do nothing other than give criminal elements a false sense of security and the belief that the product of opportunity is there because the station has only one vehicle.

Griffith explained the system under the new system to ensure prompt response to distress calls or patrols. 

Previously, this was done via police officers posted in stations and patrols done via vehicles assigned to stations. On most occasions, these vehicles are used for administrative duties and for investigations, he noted.

"First Response vehicles must already be out on patrol to give officers a head start. This is why the Emergency Response Patrol [ERP] comprising 85 vehicles was established, forming a blanket over the nation. These vehicles are monitored via GPS at an Operational Command Centre to ensure they remain in their designated area of responsibility.

In the Couva region, for example, there are six (6) vehicles, and they are monitored to ensure that they are on patrol, so when there is a 999 call, the vehicle in closest proximity to that call, is dispatched, and not police vehicles assigned to stations." 

In future, the Top CoP said persons or organisations can contact his Office to voice their concerns instead of putting out a statement.

Addressing other aspects of the business chamber's statement, Griffith noted that the Office of the Commissioner of Police did a comprehensive check of all correspondence and at no time did any correspondence from the Chamber reach the administrative desk of the CoP, so, the Office of the CoP can confirm that at no time did it receive any correspondence requesting a meeting.

"If indeed such a request was made and received, the CoP would have met with the Chamber as he has received hundreds of similar requests over the past few months, from MPs, Business Chambers, the Diplomatic Corp, and NGOs and has met with all relevant stakeholders as requested."

He acknowledged that a copy of the correspondence which was claimed to have been sent has now been emailed to his Office.

The letter states that the Chamber would contact the CoP’s Office to confirm a suitable time to meet with the Commissioner.

Griffith assured the Chamber that he would be more than willing to meet to discuss certain matters.

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