Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Top Cop calls 'Day of Total Policing' a 'Day of Total Stupidity'

The Police Commissioner says no disciplinary action can be taken against the officers that partook in the Day of Total Policing on March 23rd 2015.

On that date, 341 police officers embarked on a nationwide operation which saw 29 roadblocks within seven of the nine policing Divisions in T&T. This led to gridlock traffic and massive inconvenience to people along the East-West Corridor, San-Fernando, Port-of-Spain, the Claude Noel Highway and Scaroborugh Tobago.

The Top Cop said this was as a result of the following: 

- Poor communication protocols;

- Ineffective intelligence gathering

- Improper structure for regional Assistant Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners to effectively take control for national issues such as this Day of Total Policing.

“It was ineffective policing, it was not a Day of Total Policing, it could have been seen as a Day of Total Stupidity; mistakes were made. In consideration of and in keeping with a Court of Appeal judgment in 2011, it will be unfair, unlawful and oppressive to proffer any breaches of discipline with respect to the event, after more than four years since this has elapsed.”

To ensure that it does not happen again, he proposed the following:

1 The outfitting of Emergency Response Patrol (ERP) vehicles with quality cameras to facilitate real-time video footage throught the country, fed to an Operational Command Centre;

2 The establishment of an Operational Command Centre – one in POS at the Police Administration Building and at the National Operations Fusion Centre where they will monitor the country from ERP and CCTV cameras in real time;

3 The restructuring of the Intelligence Unit into one unit named the Central Intelligence Division to gather, collate and analyse information and intelligence;

4 The installation of GPS on all police vehicles to monitor their location and movement of all such motor vehicles to alert the Commissioner and Executives of any coalition of police vehicles. It will also ensure that they stay in their area of responsibility;

5 The establishment of Divisional Command Centres in all Divisions;

6 The restructuring of the Operational Command Centre;

7 The increase of investigators at the Complaints Division

“I unreservedly apologise to the citizens of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for the discomfort, the inconvenience, the unnecessary stress and the mental anguish encountered as a result of that operation known as “the Day of Total Policing”. On behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, we apologise, we made a mistake and we have learnt from our mistake and we give you the assurance that it will not happen again.”

Update on contracts for police officers

The police service has not yet delivered an official proposal to the National Security Minister, on the establishment of a contract system for incoming police recruits.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said a proper tribunal will be set up with the relevant stakeholders, to identify the best way for the system to be implemented. 

He said as it stands, over 300 police officers are costing the state $50 million a year because they are currently suspended for ongoing matters or based on intelligence gathered by the police service. He said that evidence might not be enough to fire the officers which means they will receive their salaries while not fully participating in active duty.

The Police Commissioner said this will be addressed through a contract system.

“What that has caused is that you have over 300 police officers on three-quarter pay or at times full play and by doing that, it has caused the taxpayers over $50 million dollars per annum where you’re not getting the service. I am actually 300 officers short on strength but you’re actually seeing it on paper.”

Griffith said the vast majority of those officers will return to work while others will be fired if there is enough evidence against them.

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