POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith has come to the defence of his officers when asked if there was any truth some of them were involved with gang members. He said the police service is not perfect and there will always be rogue elements, but there are also many good officers.
“We keep talking about rogue elements in the police service, it has become a road march. You are not talking about rogue elements as politicians, members of the media, members of the business community. Why is it always rogue elements in the police service?
“It seems to be a one-line road march. Aren’t there rogue elements in the media? Or politicians,” Griffith asked during the weekly news conference at Police Administration Building, Port of Spain
He said police officers put their lives on the line in the service of the nation. He said over the past few months, the service has been doing everything it could to weed out rogue elements, whether it involved kidnapping, gang activity or drugs.
Griffith said this shows a degree of transparency and accountability, and the police were making sure officers knew that there were consequences for their actions.
“If at any time people want to pass the buck or blame police officers that there are rogue elements, then bring it to our attention. Give us the evidence, give us the information and I promise you we will deal with it if there are rogue elements in the Police Service.
“What I do know is there are rogue elements in Big Yard, Carenage,” he said, referring to a clash between police and residents there last weekend in which a teenage girl and among three shot dead. Residents blamed the police and protested.
“What we do know is gang members are killing gang members and police officers were not involved when they killed each other – but there were no protests or blocking roads or anything like that.
“A bullet hit the chest of my police officer and he fired back. How does that make him a rogue element? The initial report would show that they fired first, because had the police officer fired first on the individual, he would not have had the capacity to fire back on the police officer.”
On body cams for officers, Griffith said the police were putting dashboard cameras on their vehicles because they had a wider span, were easier to see and they were getting the video feed in real time. He said about 40 vehicles were outfitted with these.