Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, Irwin Hackshaw, has warned Beetham residents against throwing debris onto the Beetham Highway and issuing threats to police officers on duty in the area.
The comments were made by ACP Hackshaw following a heated confrontation between some Beetham Gardens residents and officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Saturday.
Two short videos of the confrontation were uploaded to social media over the weekend. In the footage, one man is seen telling the officers, "We do not go into the police station to harass officers, so why are officers harassing residents?"
The same man is heard issuing a threat, "When we you see out of uniform, we will treat you the same way you treat us."
Following this confrontation, some Beetham Gardens residents began throwing debris onto the highway, prompting officers to maintain a static patrol in the area to prevent people from continuing to break the law.
However when the static patrol left the area later on yesterday, some people resumed throwing debris onto the highway. This action was continued today, with some residents vowing to continue doing so until they get a meeting with a senior officer in the police service to whom they can express their grievances.
Some residents claimed they were being unfairly targeted by police officers and vowed to retaliate in the coming days.
Earlier today, ACP Hackshaw issued a stern warning to those with criminal intent, that they "would be found, flushed out and brought to justice."
He said that "threats against police officers would not be tolerated and persons who break the law by throwing debris onto the highway were going to be found and prosecuted for their actions."
Hackshaw noted that there are legal avenues through which aggrieved persons can take their concerns.
He added that they should not take matters into their own hands and flagrantly break the law.
Today, officers from the Port-of-Spain Division carried out round-the-clock patrols along the Beetham Highway and kept watch over the area in an attempt to restrain anyone who had intentions of injuring motorists or damaging cars travelling along the Beetham Highway by throwing debris onto the roadway.
Motorists were advised to exercise caution when driving through the Beetham area.
Also today, IATF officers increased their patrols along the Beetham Highway to assist their colleagues from the PoS Division.
IATF officers who spoke to Newsday today; under condition of anonymity, said that within recent times, they have received threats from people who they believe are aligned to gangs and who have superior weapons than those issued by the police service.
The officers said these threats have become worrying because they now have to exercise extra caution when off-duty. They also told Newsday they intend to report the matter to the Police Social and Welfare Association, to seek the union's intervention in the matter.