POLICE Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has assured that the police service is doing all that it can to deal with the crime situation.
In an eight-page statement on Saturday, Griffith said he works tirelessly and relentlessly daily to “do all that can be done to reduce crime.”
He was responding to criticism by one daily newspaper on the police’s approach for Carnival. However, Griffith said for the 2020 Carnival season, “each and every one of my officers would be mandated to be on duty to secure the country.”
He said the police service puts in similar efforts to secure TT, “but it does become a bit more difficult when we do our job and criminals are released the following day,” in an obvious reference to magistrates who grant bail.
Griffith also said despite the unacceptable level of murders, which, he said, presently equates with the same period last year, serious and violent crime overall has dropped in comparison to the previous years.
He also said to make police officers the fall-guy for the crime situation was “very unfortunate” and listed the initiatives of the police service since he assumed office, adding that “had it not been for such pro activity and transformation, the homicide rate would have been much higher.”
Griffith again took issue with the granting of bail after being charged and appearing in court, saying the police can reduce homicides but not if they are “allowed to be released the next day to commit further crime.”
“The most effective way to reduce homicides is to prevent those with an intent of so doing, to be held prior to their plan, which is done by the police, but what is necessary is to then ensure that they remain in jail,” he said.
He also said police has received very little information from the public on crimes, even on his personal number 482-Gary, but instead the tip-line was being used to “report rumours, allegations, a crime after it has taken place, mangoes being stolen in their yard, the fowl of the neighbour crowing too loud, or persons asking for FULs, to name a few.”
“We have a social decay in our nation to the point that criminals can be held with assault rifles and released the next day. There are reports of those in strategic posts affiliating and supporting gangs. “There are reports of some in authority and communities reluctant to have someone represent them because of fear that they would inform the police of criminal activity…We are doing our job. It is for others to play their part,” the commissioner said.
“It is for the law-abiding citizens to stand up and fight for their freedom, by demanding that those who are held with illegal firearms must lose their own freedom, to ensure the safety of law-abiding citizens. “When this is achieved, then the police can have a level playing field to drastically reduce homicides in the same manner that we have reduced all other serious and violent crimes,” he added.