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Sunday 15 September 2019
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I’M NEVER SATISFIED

CoP appraises himself after year in office

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith shows the new police identification badge as he addresses the media at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, yesterday. PHOTO BY ANGELO MARCELLE
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith shows the new police identification badge as he addresses the media at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, yesterday. PHOTO BY ANGELO MARCELLE

ONE year after he was appointed Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith says he is not satisfied with what has been achieved and, as a perfectionist, he is aiming to achieve more.

At his first ceremonial address last year, Griffith promised the nation that, this year, the police service would be better than before. Asked about this at his one-year-review media conference yesterday, Griffith said: “I am never satisfied. I aim for perfection. As much as I have done all that is possible. I intend to do much more I plan to do much more. This is not the Gary Griffith show.”

Although he said he was dissatisfied, during his review of the past 12 months, Griffith highlighted a reduction in serious crimes for the period when compared to the previous 12 months.

He said: “I am not here to judge myself, the public can judge me, positive or negative. My aim is to do the best I can do and I did everything that I could have done. My main concern is that the TTPS did all that they could have done. My officers was going above and beyond their duty.”

Griffith added that his officers had a rejuvenated spirit and were encouraged to do more and wanted now for the public to have hope, trust and faith in them and one of his main jobs now was to “bring back hope in the country.”

When told that the difference between the rejuvenated officers and the police 12 months ago was himself and, therefore, he should take the credit, Griffith smiled and said nothing. He added that he would take no credit for the transformation for the police. “I can’t force someone to be a good officer, that came from in here,” he said poking his abdomen.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, right and public information officer Supt (ag) Wayne Mystar, address the media at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, on Friday. PHOT BY ANGELO MARCELLE

He said, though, owing to financial constraints, there were areas he wanted to work on but could not. Griffith said in the coming year he would better utilise his financial resources.

This year will be Griffith’s first budget request.

He did not say how much he would request of the Government saying only he would make use of what he got by limiting wastage, particularly the overtime bill.

Gangs, the major issue

The major thorn in his side is the gang-related activities from murders to gun possession. He said his job was to not only to reduce crime but also the perception of it and based on a survey conducted by his officers, the perception of crime had reduced.

Comparative showing of the murder toll in quarters between 2018 and 2019

“We don’t have a youth problem we have an adult problem,” Griffith added, saying that it was adults that benefited mostly from the criminality of children. He called on communities to support his officers and turn away from gangsters calling them “scum” and not the Robin Hoods that some saw them as.

He thanked politicians for three pieces of legislation that he said would help him in tackling gang activities. He added that the collaboration with the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) and the unification of several elite units in the police service would assist the police in dismantling gangs with results coming soon.

Going Forward

In the coming year, the police will see the armoured vehicles Griffith first mentioned when he was national security minister in 2014. A coastal patrol unit is also expected to be launched in the second year along with an $8 million upgrade of the police with new badges and uniforms. Officers will also be trained to facilitate the Gender Based Violence Unit.

Griffith added that he would be restructuring the Mounted and Canine Branch to better deal with drugs at the country's ports of entry.

He plans to maintain and improve the operation centres and equipping vehicles with the necessary technology to better assist officers to fight crime which will include access to not only the police database but licensing and where applicable the court records. The recently concluded Commissioner's Cup is the first of his community police initiative with "Street Talk" coming soon to help tackle gang activity. To ensure he has the manpower to staff the new units, Griffith will increase the number of recruits from 200 annually to 220.

Police Survey

According to the online satisfaction survey where 1225 citizens were polled, 59.3 per cent rated the police as good and above. The survey was in five categories from poor to excellent. A total of 22.2 per cent of those polled said they were poorly satisfied with the police with just 7.9 per cent rating them as excellent. There was an overall increase in confidence in the police with 55 per cent agreeing.

A snippet of the results of the online survey showing how those polled viewed the TTPS

Griffith seemed pleased to hear that based on the survey, 76 per cent of those polled had confidence in Griffith compared to 49 per cent in his predecessor Stephen Williams. Women were more likely to rate him as excellent compared to men. According to 723 people telephoned for the survey, 65 per cent rated him as either excellent of very good. Of those who were telephoned, 95 per cent supported the police initiatives and only 14 per cent had no confidence in the police.

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