THE EDITOR: While our nation rightfully expresses outrage over the tragic killing of 13-year-old Andrea Lallan and her disabled uncle Sylvan Lallan, it is imperative that we take every possible step to prevent another tragedy such as this.
Collectively, we must demand the reinstatement of crucial policies and initiatives that were deliberately dismantled by the TTPS hierarchy, and we must never tolerate politics taking root within the service.
In 2020, the Gender-Based Violence Unit was established as part of a comprehensive and deliberate approach to protect victims of physical and sexual violence. It was done in co-ordination with the NYPD’s training, and it was complemented by online reporting and the TTPS app, providing victims with a less invasive means to report domestic violence and sexual assault.
However, with the shutdown of online reporting and the decommissioning of the app, the TTPS has regressed to a time when victims were compelled to report such crimes at police stations, exposing them to their alleged attackers and increasing the risk of reprisals.
And while no one can guarantee complete safety from those with evil intent, systems like these minimise the victim’s exposure to such risks. Not just from alleged criminals, but in the case where officers at the station are friends of the alleged attacker.
This regressive approach also discourages victims from reporting the crime in the first place, which may explain why fewer reports of domestic abuse were seen as a success by the present Police Service Commission in assessing McDonald Jacob's tenure as the head of the TTPS.
It also many times robs victims of the sensitivity needed at such a vulnerable time, as they have to initially interface with police officers who have not been afforded the training required to effectively deal with crimes such as these, when what is needed are officers specifically trained to understand that confidentiality and sensitivity are paramount for victims of these crimes.
And as is clear for all to see, the current direction of the TTPS’s hierarchy, seemingly influenced by politics, personal grievances, or both, is entirely counterproductive, as in the last two years the Gender-Based Violence Unit has been watered down, with very little promotion or information being made available to the public as to how it can and should be utilised, as what was done in the past.
While we cannot bring back the life of the innocent 13-year-old child, we can take a stand, declare "enough is enough," and insist on reigniting what was effective while removing petty politics from the TTPS.
political leader, NTA