COMMISSIONER of Police Gary Griffith yesterday issued a release in response to concerns raised by Kirk Waithe and his organisation, “Fixing TnT,” which questioned the process the top cop used to get permission to use the uniform which the Special Operations Resource Team (SORT) currently wears on special operations.
Waithe questioned the process, asking via a media release whether the commissioner had gotten approval from cabinet, and had informed the nation of the approved uniform via the Gazette. Waithe alluded that if the Commissioner did not go through the proper channels, he would have in fact breached the laws of due process, and hypothesised that other processes may be breached, if the matter of uniforms was not treated with properly.
In a four-page release, Griffith said contrary to allusions made by Waithe, the TTPS had not violated the uniform. He also encouraged Waithe’s organisation to focus more on the safety of the nation, rather than what the Commissioner and his special operations team wears.
“Do not focus on what I wear while I put my life on the line, instead be a part of the solution by avoiding sensationalism and glamorising criminals,” Griffith said in the release.
Waithe also took issue with the Red Alert strategy, saying that several communities could experience “the effects of an SoE,” because of special operations conducted by SORT.
Griffith, in his rebuttal, pointed out the Red Alert initiative has “yielded positive results.”
At the post-cabinet meeting on Thursday, National Security Minister Stuart Young expressed disappointment that a “one-man soap box organisation is allowed to escalate” these issues.
“I think the TTPS is doing a fantastic job under the CoP. I give them my full support once they operate in the remit of the law,” he said.
Young noted that several arms of local and international police forces tasked with conducting special operations, had used more tactical gear than what a regular police officer would use.
While he admitted there was no Gazetting of the uniform change under his tenure as Minister of National Security, Young said he gave Griffith the go-ahead to use whatever uniform he saw fit.
“I gave him my full concurrence and stamp of approval. Let’s just get the job done,” Young said.