Cops vow secure Port of Spain for Xmas

Police on patrol at Independence Square, Port of Spain during the launch of the Christmas anti-crime plan earlier this month. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Police on patrol at Independence Square, Port of Spain during the launch of the Christmas anti-crime plan earlier this month. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Police in the Port of Spain Division said while the public is concerned over the spate of murders, efforts have been made to tackle violent crime, noting the seizure of 10,000 illegal guns across TT since the beginning of the year.

The figures were reported by ACP North-West Collis Hazel at the launch of the Port of Spain Division's anti-crime Christmas plan on Independence Square on Friday.

An armed policewoman who is now part of the security presence patrolling Port of Spain during the Christmas season. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

The plan, termed the Deter, Enforce, Educate and Response (DEER) initiative, brings various state agencies together in crime-fighting activities, and uses a combination of police exercises and community-sensitisation campaigns to tackle crime.

Hazel said, up to Friday morning police in the Port of Spain Division had seized more than 72 illegal guns, surpassing the figure for the same period in 2021.

He urged the public to look at the successes of the police in removing illegal guns, and hoped such activities would encourage people to partner with the police in crime-fighting.

"In doing that, we have saved 10,000 lives. So while some slip through the cracks, one has to proactively look and see that we have saved the lives and livelihoods of 10,000 citizens in this 1.3 million population, and that's a significant number of lives.

"(So to) the citizens coming into Port of Spain, we continue to ensure this safe-city approach continues to work."

Mayor of Port of Spain Joel Martinez and ACP North-West Collis Hazel speak during the launch of the Christmas 2022 anti-crime plan on Independence Square, Port of Spain on Friday. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Hazel said the DEER initiative would unite different agencies to ensure a more focused and robust response to any threat over the Christmas season and into the new year.

Apart from the divisional police, Hazel said some of the agencies which would be involved would be the Port of Spain City Police, Customs and Excise Division, traffic wardens, port police, the TT Electricity Commission (TTEC) and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).

He also warned visitors to the city that "naughtiness" would not be tolerated.

Referring to Santa Claus who monitors and punishes errant behaviour, Hazel said the police would similarly pay close attention to the behaviour of visitors to the city, and warned that the they were prepared to blanket the city with their presence.

"You have heard it: don't be naughty, continue to be nice.”

"I want to implore all of you that a strategic, directed operation is taking place. I want to warn the people who are bent on doing crime – don't test the mettle of our fabric, because we will deter you from doing that.

"We will deal with your naughtiness as we hit the streets throughout the capital to ensure that each and everyone has a safe and secure Christmas into Carnival.

"We are not here to let all the crime strategies out, but just to say there will be dust in your face and police in your face in every nook and cranny as we police the streets of Port of Spain."

Also speaking at the launch of the anti-crime plan was head of the Port of Spain Division Snr Supt Roger Alexander who assured the public that the police were capable of protecting them when visiting the city.

"When we look at the DEER initiative I see it as Santa's reindeer, just that it's in blue like a police and we're going through the city to see all who have been naughty and those who have been nice, and at that time we'll separate those who were naughty from those who are nice."

Members of the Police Service Band perform during the launch of the Christmas 2022 anti-crime plan. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Referring to incidents where customers were lured to unfamiliar areas and robbed by bandits posing as online retailers, Alexander asked the public to use police stations as a meeting point for transactions with strangers.

"We know you want to get things cheaper (than in stores) and you might think online (shopping) is the best way to do that but we advise you to come to the (police) station.

"We would rather prevent a crime rather than investigate one.

"Come to the station if the person is really who he says he is, then he will come and the transaction will be done."

After the launch Hazel and Alexander walked through Charlotte and Frederick Streets distributing brochures containing anti-crime tips to shoppers and vendors.

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"Cops vow secure Port of Spain for Xmas"

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