POLICE COMMISSIONER Gary Griffith yesterday reaffirmed his stance on crime with the launch of Operation Strike Back, as he pledged a more intelligence-driven approach to crime-fighting in TT. This after 24 people were arrested, in connection with various offences, throughout the northern division between Saturday night and yesterday.
Griffith, along with 85 officers of the Northern Division, participated in a series of exercises in Macoya, La Horquetta, Bon Air Gardens, Tunapuna and Arima which resulted in arrests, the destruction of a marijuana field and the seizure of a quantity of arms and ammunition. The most recent find of shot gun cartridges was made in bushes mere meters from where officers set up their stop-and-search exercises.
Speaking with reporters at the end of the exercise at Bon Air Gardens, Griffith expressed satisfaction with the performance of all officers involved and promised citizens that the Police Service, through his leadership, will continue to strike back against criminals.
“Any community leader, gang leader, any organisation that has criminal intentions and think they can control any area, we as the Police Service will strike back. If they swing, we will swing back. There is no situation where we will look at a community leader and rub shoulders or feel sympathy for them.
“No street, no community, nowhere in this country is going to be controlled by criminals. The Police Service will take control of those communities and ensure that the fundamental rights of citizens are adhered to. That is safety, so anytime criminals think they are in control, we will swing back hard.”
Griffith said over 100 officers took part in the intelligence-gathering phase of the exercise weeks in advance, and given the large number of officers involved, it could not be done on a very frequent basis. But he promised citizens that all raids and exercises would be done after enough evidence was gathered.
Assistant Commissioner for Northern Division McDonald Jacob said despite reports of crimes across the division, officers were successful in arresting one of the suspects in last week’s Bon Air Gardens triple murder, when his (the suspect’s) car was intercepted by officers. The suspect is being interviewed by officers of the Homicide Bureau Region 3.
In Tunapuna, Jacob confirmed that two .9 mm pistols were seized and two men arrested, and two men were arrested in Arima for their alleged roles in the robbery of four police officers at an Arima bar. He said, in St Joseph on Saturday night, officers of the CID destroyed 2000 fully-grown marijuana trees and 4000 seedlings.
He also confirmed that a police officer’s father was robbed of his car at Waterloo Road, Arouca but the car was recovered shortly after. He said while the suspects escaped, their identities are known and arrests are imminent.
For his part, DCP Deodat Dulalchan confirmed that the police officers were supported by members of the TT Air Guard as well as “specialist resources” from within the Police Service and commended officers for their commitment and tireless efforts during the operation’s 12 hours.
In a release issued yesterday afternoon, Arouca/Maloney MP Camille Robinson-Regis expressed relief and gratitude to Griffith, Jacob and all officers involved in the exercise.
She said while last week’s murders were unfortunate, she welcomed the approach of Griffith in tackling crime.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith declared war on criminals as he and 85 officers of the Northern Division carried out a series of exercises between 10 pm yesterday and 10 am this morning, ending in Bon Air Gardens.
Speaking with media at the conclusion of what he called "Operation Strike Back," Griffith pledged his commitment to the fight against crime after 24 people were arrested during the operation.
Among those arrested were three suspects held in connection with last week's triple murder in Bon Air Gardens. Others were held for different offences including outstanding warrants, possession of marijuana and possession of arms and ammunition.