CoP wants to root out corrupt officers

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith. -
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith. -

POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith took aim at rogue police officers on Monday, promising to continue efforts to weed them out of the service. He said these officers are working with criminals and abusing working hours for their benefit.

Speaking at a media briefing at Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, Griffith said while he would continue to do his best in tackling corruption within the ranks of the police service, he chastised organisations that defended corrupt officers.

Griffith also asserted that even while police are supposed to be held to a higher standard, there are some officers who collude with criminals and take advantage of overtime systems, where some police were reporting that they worked 22 hours per day.

He said while he would continue to defend police officers, as commissioner, he is also obligated to speak out against corruption even within his own organisation.

"Police officers are supposed to be more disciplined and have less rights than the average citizen as the police officers are expected to be at a higher standard, unfortunately in TT I see it is just the opposite.

"In the police service if someone is transferred, they want to rush to court, to protest and fight for their rights. At times we transfer people on the basis of that individual's training, other times it's based on intelligence where we have seen or discovered police have assisted criminal elements.

"This is when we start speaking about service before self and instead of having that, it goes the other way around. I have police officers claiming they reach 6 am and leave 4 am the next morning for six days a week and when I transfer these individuals they rush to court and think they can fool me."

Griffith said the police would be drafting recommendations to tackle errant officers which will be put forward in the Parliament for consideration.

In the short-term, head of the police Legal Unit Christian Chandler said there were plans to take action against officers suspected of being involved in illegal activities.

"We want to push forward on tribunals that are faster process so that people will have a hearing and they will have an opportunity to be heard because natural justice provides for this and this is something that needs to be dealt with.

"We can't have years pass by and simple things are not dealt with and people are kept on suspension just withering away."

Griffith said on entry to the police service, prospective officers undergo a rigorous screening process to ensure they are not compromised by criminals but said even throughout their career, officers have the option to refuse polygraph testing if they are investigated.

Newsday spoke to president of the TTPS Social Welfare Association Gideon Dickson who said while he saw the media conference, he did not want to make any comments until after his meeting with Griffith on Tuesday.

Newsday also attempted to contact Criminology Professor Ramesh Deosaran via phone call and WhatsApp for comment but was unsuccessful.

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