Police Commissioner Gary Griffith yesterday promised to use all resources to solve kidnappings just as was done in the rescue of kidnap victim Natalie Pollonais.
“What I can state is each and every person who have to endure such an act, I intend to use the same resources, maximum capacity, to ensure that their loved ones would be brought back home,” Griffith assured, in remarks to the media at the TTPS Police Men Can Cook competition at the Paddock, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Referring to the September 6 kidnapping of Pollonais, her subsequent rescue by the police, and the arrest of two police officers, he asked the public to continue to support the TTPS as they are there to help. He said no organisation was perfect and that almost every police service in the world had officers involved in criminal behaviour.
However, he assured the public that there would be no “cover up” for those officers and they would be brought to justice.
“And more importantly the 200 police officers who performed above and beyond the call of duty to do what was required, and when last have you heard there was a clinical extraction of a hostage who was held by kidnappers and she was extracted and the ransom was not paid?” he said. “You do not hear about that overnight.
It means that we are in the right direction, dealing with proper administration, proper management making sure there was good intelligence to ensure a successful operation and that is what we will continue to have. I am not saying that every single serious crime we are going to solve, but I think we are in the right direction.”
He added that confidentiality played a big part in the success of Pollonais’ rescue, and there were “certain things that we are doing and are still continuing” to bring all those involved to justice. Therefore, he said, when it came to very serious matters, he would not share certain things with the media but assured other cases would receive equal treatment. After Pollonais rescue, the families of several kidnap victims, among them Ria Sookdeo who was abducted last year, appealed to Griffith to look into their cases.
Griffith, also addressing crime measures, said he may ask those whose firearm user’s licence (FUL) applications were three years and older to reapply.
He said the reason he may have to ask an applicant to reapply was because their situations may have changed in the past three years.
He said he intended to deal with the 13,000 applications, according to the law, which would take some time, but he also intended to “have the common courtesy” to update them on the situation.
He also insisted that the process would not be “business as usual” but there would be checks and balances. One of these was that everyone with a legal firearm would be asked to undergo proper training, safety measures, and regular practice on a gun range.
Griffith also praised the success of Operation Strike Back saying it was not a cosmetic operation of police officers just going into an area but was based on intelligence gathering. “Everything pertaining to police operations in the future it is going to be intelligence driven. We are not just going to have an operation, just have a road block just for the sake of it. We have no intention to inconvenience the public.” Griffith then visited several of the booths were officers were cooking hard for the first prize of $10,000. Each team had to cook several dishes including fish broth, curry duck, geera pork, a chow, and a signature dish of their choice as long as they incorporated the snack, Ole Extreme.
Teams included the Parliament Police, Northern Division, Eastern Division, Central Division, Finance Branch, Fire Service, Guard and Emergency Branch, Municipal Police North, and Municipal Police South.