CoP: 29 per cent of serious crimes solved

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher -
Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher -

JUST about one in three serious crimes are solved across TT, but in one police division this figure is only one out of eight, revealed Commissioner of Police (CoP) Erla Harewood-Christopher on Wednesday to the Joint Select Committee(JSC) on National Security headed by Keith Scotland.

JSC member Dr Paul Richards had asked about discrepancies in the detection rate for serious crimes among various regions.

Harewood-Christopher said the overall national detection rate was 29 per cent. She gave figures to show this rate ranged from a low of 12 per cent in Port of Spain to a high of 55 per cent in Eastern Division. Other divisional detection rates were: South (49 per cent), Western (23 per cent), Northern (29 per cent), North Central (18 per cent), Central (22 per cent), South Western (40 per cent), North Eastern (23 per cent) and Tobago (23 per cent.)

Richards asked about the CoP's initial target of June to lower crime figures, voiced at a previous JSC hearing, with target details subsequently given in her crime plan.

Harewood-Christopher reckoned "We are on track in some areas."

However she said she had targeted a 20 per cent reduction in murder, but TT had seen a ten per cent increase as of mid-May.

Regarding an intended 20 per cent reduction in violent crime, Harewood-Christopher said TT has achieved a 15 per cent decrease.

A 17 per cent drop in serious reported crime had actually exceeded an intended fall of 15 per cent, she related.

Car thefts had fallen by one per cent, short of the ten per cent target, the CoP said.

"A five per cent reduction (intended) in fatal RTAs (road traffic accidents) - we have a 15 per cent reduction.

"A 30 per cent detection rate for murders, unfortunately we are just at a 12 per cent detection rate. A 30 per cent reduction rate for violent crimes – again we are at only 16 per cent. A 15 per cent increase in firearms seized – right now we are working even with last year's.

Richards asked for data on home invasions. Harewood-Christopher replied, "Actually I don't have the statistics with me today, but the last we checked we did have a reduction in home invasions compared to the period last year." She promised to step up the police's GRACE initiative of social intervention to help to combat crime, even as she said recent police action against gangs had been warmly welcomed by Maloney residents. Regarding the availability of police vehicles, she said police patrols were focussed in "hot spots", with visibility maintained in other areas.

Scotland brought to everyone's attention the fact that in one unnamed magisterial district, in a five-year period out of 400 indictable offences laid, some 212 cases had been thrown out due to a lack of prosecution.

At the start of the session, acting DCP Curt Simon said "We are not comfortable with our detection rate." Saying detection rates tend to worsen with high crime rates, he said, "One initiative is to reduce the amount of crime now."


"CoP: 29 per cent of serious crimes solved"

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