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Wednesday 16 October 2019
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[UPDATED] ‘I must run police as a business’

Griffith sets out plans to cut expenses

L-R DCP Harold Phillip, acting Chief Fire officer (Ag) Marlon Smith, Port of Spain Joel Martinez, CoP Gary Griffith, National Security Minister Stuart Young and acting DCP Sharon Blake-Clarke at the unveiling of memorial monument for fallen officers, Police Administration Building, Sackville Street, Port of Spain.
L-R DCP Harold Phillip, acting Chief Fire officer (Ag) Marlon Smith, Port of Spain Joel Martinez, CoP Gary Griffith, National Security Minister Stuart Young and acting DCP Sharon Blake-Clarke at the unveiling of memorial monument for fallen officers, Police Administration Building, Sackville Street, Port of Spain.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has begun drafting a document to make polygraph testing in the TT Police Service (TTPS) mandatory for officers.

Griffith made the announcement yesterday after the unveiling of the memorial monument ceremony at Police Administration Building, Port of Spain yesterday.

He also said the TTPS injury compensation process was not efficient so he wanted to arrange a better system through an insurance policy, a proper medical plan, and a police hospital, hopefully by the end of this fiscal year.

“This is actually going to reduce the expense. I’m trying to run the police service as a business, try to reduce expenses that would be unwanted and utilise those funds towards things that we require in the next fiscal year.”

National Security Minister Stuart Young added that the current administration met the $1 million compensation to families of officers killed in the line of duty as a policy and implemented it but that did not take care of those injured in the line of duty. Therefore, he encouraged Griffith’s plans.

In addition, Young said when the CoP writes asking that polygraph testing be made mandatory, he believes the National Security Council will support it just as he fully supports the CoP with the introduction of polygraph testing.

“If the questions are what the Commissioner of Police is asking, ‘Are you involved in protecting the criminal element?,’ that is a question that every law-abiding citizen of TT would want police officers to answer. And any police officer who has difficulty in answering whether they are protecting the criminal element, that is somebody we have to look at.”

Griffith reiterated that polygraph testing was not being done to pinpoint guilt but as a “yardstick to streamline officers” and ensure there were not officers, especially in sensitive units, that would compromise operations including those in human trafficking, sexual exploitation, kidnapping, and securing the country’s boarders.

“What I find amazing is that when persons wanted to get into the Police Service every single person wanted to be polygraphed on every question, every police officer, they were willing to be drug tested. This is no different.”

He said he would not be flexible about polygraph and drug testing within the service as they would ensure “red flag” people were not placed in sensitive posts that could compromise national security. He said those who fail the drug tests would be disciplined and those who refused the polygraph could be transferred.

In the meanwhile, Griffith said he would try to ensure officers’ well-being was looked after, and the monument was part of that. He said it was a continuation of his I Support Our Service campaign to honour those who died in the line of duty since 1962. The monument listed the names, badge numbers, ranks, and service periods of 48 officers.

A monument in memory of police officers who died in the line of duty since 1962 at Police Administration Building, Port of Spain.

He said the monument showed admiration and respect to the officers’ noble, ultimate sacrifice – giving their lives to the service of their country while trying to protect it. He said it also ensured they were not forgotten, and showed understanding of the pain and grief suffered by their families.

“In this country when officers face hostile fire in a virtual war zone out there, they are given a set of broken hearts. They are ignored, they are ridiculed, and people do not understand what the officers encounter out there.”

Young too thanked the families of all serving and past officers of the TTPS for the support they gave, and for the CoP, for the memorial monument initiative which he said was long overdue. He also promised to work with Griffith to support and honour those injured or who died serving the people of TT.

Young also sent a message to criminals who challenge, take advantage of courtesies, and abuse those who protect and serve. “Those criminals out there who now believe that they are empowered, that they can challenge the men and women in the police service, you can’t... For too long there has been that breakdown of law and order in society and the men and women of the police service must know that us law-abiding citizens, you have our fullest support.”

A TTPS band member plays The Last Post at the unveiling of a monument in honour of officers who died in the line of duty at Police Administration Building, Sackville Street, Port of Spain yesterday. PHOTOS BY JEFF MAYERS

He said the behaviour of criminals would “not be tolerated,” that they would “get a push back” from his ministry as well as citizens. He also told citizens while they should not let national security officers abuse their position, they should stand with those who “carry out these acts of courage and bravery” to protect the average person as long as they operate within the law.

This story was originally published with the title "Griffith: Officers sacrifice their lives" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.


As a continuation of his I Support Our Service campaign, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith unveiled a monument to honour those who died in the line of duty since 1962.

Speaking in front of the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, on Saturday, where the monument with the names of 48 officers were engraved, Griffith apologised that the monument took so long to be erected.

“They deserve more honour than we currently give. Their story, their memory, it brings clarity to the term ‘to protect and serve.’”

He said the monument showed admiration and respect to the officers’ noble, ultimate sacrifice – giving their lives to the service of their country while trying to protect it. He said it also showed understanding of the pain and grief suffered by their families.

“On behalf of the TTPS I wish to thank you for allowing us, allowing the country, to share him or her with you whilst they were here.”

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