National security leaders have more information than people think, so the population should trust them to do what is right.
So claimed National Security Minister Stuart Young yesterday, as he cautioned citizens at the first passing-out parade exclusively for the municipal police at the Police Academy Barracks in St James.
“Whilst we welcome constructive criticism and we welcome persons giving constructive advice: a caution to those out there, especially those who like to stand on a soapbox and do their self-promotion – understand you do not have all of the facts the vast majority of times.”
He said when national security heads kept quiet about certain events in and outside of TT, it was usually a conscious decision not to comment in order not to jeopardise a mission or exercise taking place.
“Understand that the intelligence provided to the leadership of law enforcement and national security, you do not have. So understand that on occasions when the Minister of National Security, the Commissioner of Police, the other heads of divisions and arms of national security are maintaining a still tongue, it is not a sign of weakness, and it is certainly not a sign that we are afraid. But it is a fact that we know more than you do.”
Young also warned criminals that their activities would no longer be tolerated and the municipal police had an increasingly essential role in the new intelligence-driven police exercises to build relationships with members of communities and return with intelligence.
He said the country’s national security forces were targeting gangs and promised they would push the gangs back. He said charges had been laid and people were being prosecuted under the anti-gang legislation.
“We are not going to let a small minority of imps, a small minority of those who feel because they have guns and they have access to guns...intimidate us and drive their agendas by fear.”
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith asked the 199 new officers to assist in the strategic efforts to maintain law and order.
He noted that as municipal officers they had closer interactions with citizens, so customer-service skills were more critical than for most in the police service. He told the 117 female and 82 male officers they played an important role in the image transformation of the police so their actions would build trust and respect in the police service.
“You must understand that praiseworthy character and action is expected from all of you. If one of you abuses your position, your authority, the entire service is affected.”
Griffith also encouraged them to remember their training and discipline, and their reasons for deciding to serve as the years passed. He warned them not to become negligent, corrupt, or develop a selfish agenda. Instead, he urged them to adhere to policy and direction, and always to protect themselves and each other, especially when on duty.
“Recruits, I urge you to use patriotism as a precedent over everything else in your life, including loyalty to your friends. I say this because I always want you to be true to yourself and to your profession. If you see something that is wrong, no matter who is the one committing the act, do not turn a blind eye...Act against all wrongdoing and injustice.”
He reminded them that being a municipal police officer was about service to the people of TT and not about themselves.