WITH eight murders recorded in Tobago for the year to date, acting Snr Supt Jeffrey George said he is hoping it remains that way.
He was responding to questions from the media after the blessing of four vehicles assigned to the new Emergency Response Unit (EPR) at the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) building in Scarborough on Friday.
“At present, we are targeting what you call priority offenders. These are people who are involved in firearm, narcotics, break-ins, etc, and if we tackle the criminal elements head-on, I feel we can get a reduction next year.
“The year before we had 13 (murders)and we have eight for now. We are trying to hold it at eight. We are hoping and praying that we can get the assistance of the citizens in keeping it that way.”
Customer service and the way officers interact with the public remains a front-burner issue. George admitted to a breakdown in the relationship, adding that feedback from the public is necessary.
“The police come from the society, and if the society behaves a certain way… we could provide hundreds of (hours of) training, (but) the officer must have the ability to change. He must have a willingness to change. One of the things that we are asking the officers is when they go out, to show empathy to victims of crime, to deal with the public in the way that their parents taught them… manners and mannerly. I emphasise that to them over and over, and I hope they carry it out,” he said.
In the interim, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Tobago, Sharon Blake-Clarke, who took up the position on September 3. has committed to working in the communities.
“Even though I came out of a crime situation – I worked in crime for a number of years – I also worked in community," she said, explaining that she believed community policing needed to be looked at.
"Also," she added, "I know that the police youth clubs play an integral part in shaping the children of Tobago, and I think that this is one of the things that I would look into to ensure that they get the required or requisite assistance.”
Blake-Clarke took over the position when former ACP Garfield Moore retired.
She said the holder of the ACP post is not in charge of the operations.
“I have the overarching responsibility for Tobago, but I am not in charge of Tobago… Mr George is. As the acting Snr Supt, Tobago, he is in charge of his division, and I am just here to ensure that policies are done and the public is aware of certain things, and whatever is the strategy or the policy for the police service, to ensure that it is adhered to,” she said.