Ag CoP laments nearing 600 murder toll mark

Erla Christopher
Erla Christopher

AS the country nears 600 murders, acting Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher said the unwanted milestone in TT's history has triggered her “sense of urgency to strategise and implement swift short-term and long-term interventions.”

Up to Thursday night the murder toll stood at 599.

In a media release on Thursday, Christopher said the cries of the public for an immediate solution to crime had not fallen on deaf ears as the police was actively working to deal with its deficiencies to tackle the main factors that contribute to the surge in murders and other crimes.

“I know it is easy to blame us and shame us, and that comes with the territory, while others shoot, the target is always on the police’s back, as everyone wants us to do something, do more and do it now.”

Christopher said she was left greatly concerned over the fact that the country was approaching 600 plus murders, however, she said police were not solely responsible for the battle against crime and criminality.

“The big questions on everyone's lips are, 'Why,' followed by, What is the TTPS doing about these murders?'

"Our data points to gang activity as the prevalent probable cause and the prevailing weapon of choice as firearms. The choice that some make to be committed to gang ideals and the availability of firearms remain our greatest vulnerabilities.”

She hopes these interventions through the Gang Reduction and Community project (GRACE) anti-gang programme, community policing, Police Youth clubs and other community is key to strengthening the police’s ability to detect, prevent and solve crimes.

The GRACE project will strengthen society's ability to resist gang entry and enhance lifestyle choices away from criminal behaviour generally.

The 100 Police Youth Clubs nationwide will continue to play a vital role in the fight to dismantle the “gang and gun culture” that entices young people.

And a narrow-focused investment in young people, especially those more susceptible to gang influence is critical in 2023.

“Our focus on the seizure of illegal firearms never gets placed on the back burner, as these are the weapons used to commit the vast majority of murders. Anti-crime exercises and operations will continue in earnest as we intend to continue to remove illegal firearms from our communities.”

Christopher renewed her call for the public to join with the police by sharing vital information on crime, using any of its hotlines or the TTPS App.

“If we reduce the number of accessible illegal guns then the number of gun–related homicides should also decrease.”

Police will continue to do more to improve their crime-fighting abilities.

“We have partnered with local and international organisations to access much–needed training and development programmes for officers.

"Homicide detectives have been updated with the best practices, and the TTPS has benefited from its collaboration with international partners like the USA, France, South Korea and others in investigative and technical training.”

Christopher said some initiatives would take time before the country can reap the rewards of those investments. Until that happens, she wanted citizens to have confidence that police were making significant discoveries and interventions.


"Ag CoP laments nearing 600 murder toll mark"

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