OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has predicted that the reduction in the budget allocation for the TTPS will lead to its virtual shut down and already high criminality getting worse.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on Friday, she said that at a time when home invasions and robberies have increased drastically, there has been a very concerning cut in finances to the police service in the 2021 budget.
She reported an overall reduction for the police in goods and services from $515,847,200 in fiscal 2020 to $334,689,921 in fiscal 2021, a reduction of $181,157,278.
She also said the goods and services budget allocation for 2020 was $515,847,200 but the service only received releases of around $400,000,000, a short fall of $100,000,000. She said this means the police was unable to pay contractors and other agencies who have done work for them.
She added that many of these contractors who are still owed have indicated that they will soon no longer service the police, including the repairs of vehicles and supplies of material.
“Where are the funds for the much-spoken drones that the TTPS were to acquire to assist in the patrolling of the coastline and in intelligence gathering?” She said with the 2021 allocation being $181,157,278, as well as the $100,000,000 shortfall in releases, the police are starting the 2021 fiscal year in a $282,000,000 hole.
She pointed out for vehicles the service was allocated $40,000,000 in fiscal 2020 however in fiscal 2021, this figure was reduced to zero
“With zero allocation, this means that for fiscal 2021 the TTPS will be unable to acquire any new vehicles to replace the ageing fleet as well as vehicles that have been damaged on operations or in for repairs, thus less vehicles on patrols. The Honourable Minister also mentioned in his presentation a Mobile Command Centre for the TTPS but how can the TTPS acquire much needed equipment if they were allocated no funds for the purchase of vehicles?”
She also questioned what happened to her administration’s plan to provide $1 million in compensation to the families of officers killed in the line of duty.
Two other items not receiving funding are the new Gender-Based Violence Unit as well as a Sexual Victims Unit, despite the number of crimes against women and women being abused.
“This means that while the TTPS was developing special victims’ locations where a rape or abused victim would be able to be interviewed, or swabs taken in a timely basis or to be counselled in a special designed facility, these unfortunate victims will have to remain in the main office for all and sundry to observe them.”