N Touch
Sunday 19 August 2018
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Editorial

Dillon's dilemma

"WE want to create a sense of safety and security," National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said at last week's press conference on crime.

He promised increased patrols by the TT Police Service, joint exercises with the TT Defence Force and a greater presence at shopping malls and the Chaguaramas boardwalk among other popular vacation relaxation spots during the July-August school vacation as he sought to address the now cemented perception that the Police Service is completely outmatched by criminals.

The mention of the boardwalk, not previously regarded as a crime hotspot, was a tangential response at best, to the shooting incident last weekend that resulted in three deaths and three people being wounded.

Unfortunately, nothing that either the minister or acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams had to say went beyond the ordinary, though the security bosses had the good grace not to foist another useless crime plan on a public with every reason to scoff at such initiatives.

Williams announced a refreshed call for heads of divisions to use all the resources available to protect the communities under their watch.

Incomprehensibly, the men responsible for leading the formal crime response in TT spoke of supply and demand and the need to balance the needs of society with the supply of available officers.

As an economic proposition, the acting CoP's equation seemed flawed as theory beyond a call for "additional resources" for "additional service."

Commodore Hayden Pritchard, Chief of Defence Staff, offered a physics lesson, explaining that narcotics, even thrown overboard by fleeing smugglers, tended to float, while contraband guns would sink to the bottom of the sea.

This was meant to explain the Coast Guard's apparently poor showing with gun seizures relative to its land-based counterparts who have captured 552 illegal weapons for 2018.

"We are exploring new approaches," declared Pritchard, "we have no option for failure."

It isn't clear, given the notoriously porous coastal defences of TT, what Pritchard would describe as success.

In summary, the first major national security press conference held after the bloody assault on civilians on the boardwalk offered the following for consideration.

There is no new crime plan, limers will be encouraged to lime with police protection during the vacation, better cases are being built against gangs and something will be done about the attack in Chaguaramas.

The Acting CoP and National Security Minister were probably right not to offer a crime plan to TT at that press conference.

This country, wilting in the face of a casual and widespread criminal presence that appears to operate with impunity, needs evidence of specific, effective action that results in arrests and convictions.

Anything else is just talk. Promises and guns that fail to float.

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