If citizens want to see the same positive results reported by police for Carnival 2020, the criminal justice system must be improved.
So said Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, who bashed negative comments on the police’s success in overseeing an incident-free Carnival 2020.
In a letter to the editors of newspapers, Griffith addressed comments on manpower and the police’s ability to tackle crime during Carnival compared to the rest of the year.
He said the “naysayers” were calling on the police to produce positive results similar to those reported for Carnival throughout the year.
Griffith said police are not “Robo Cops” and the police service already “provides the same commitment throughout the year, but this still would not give the desired result if the criminal justice system does not work.”
He said more effort and manpower isn’t needed only during Carnival and to say this gives the impression that TTPS "comes off the gas" from Ash Wednesday.
For specific events, the CoP said, law enforcement officials are required to “go the extra mile,” but this can only be done for a certain period.
“They cannot work 36 hours out of 48 hours, as many officers did for Carnival. This cannot be done throughout the year.”
Griffith slammed those who called on him to put more officers on the streets, as happened during Carnival
He said the reason there was an enormous turnout for Carnival was that every unit – even reserve units – was brought out.
He explained, “Almost 60 per cent of the personnel are assigned to non-tactical units, such as Cyber Crime, Homicide, Gender-Based Violence, Witness Protection Unit, Fraud, CID, FIB, ACIB, all administrative, logistics, training and financial, to name a few.”
He said it is impossible for all those units to remain shut down throughout the year to have all 7,000 police out on patrol.
These units are critical towards many other aspects of policing, and even with all hands on deck at the same time, “it still would not stop a homicide in a side street at 2 am, or in someone’s home.
“To those who think that way, it is easier said than done, especially if one is playing mas and having fun or just relaxing throughout the four-day weekend, whilst my officers gave their all to ensure that all citizens and visitors remained safe.”
Police are doing their best, he insisted, and what is key to reducing crime and criminal activity is a reform of the criminal justice system.
“Criminals receive a get-out-of-jail-free card, every time they are held with the weapons used to kill over 400 persons every year.
“When 1,437 persons are arrested as repeat offenders with firearms and released, and 323 are arrested for possession of an illegal firearm, but then given bail within 24 hours, with such cases not heard for years, it means that all those held who are shooters, simply go back out and continue the trade of murder.”