Ag CoP: Strategies being implemented to tackle crime trend

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Ag CoP: Strategies being implemented to tackle crime trend

Acting Commissioner of Police, Erla Christopher, has expressed her concern over the climbing murder rate.

In a statement, she said, “Like every other civic minded citizen, I am greatly concerned that we are approaching 600 plus murders, a new and unwanted milestone in our nation’s history. However, as the citizen tasked with the responsibility to address issues of crime and security, this situation drives my resolve and sense of urgency to strategize and implement swift short term and long-term interventions to impact our crime reduction efforts generally and murders specifically, which will improve the overall sense of safety for all who call Trinidad and Tobago home.”

She added, “The big questions on everyone 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.”

Ag. CoP Christopher noted that strategies are being implemented to tackle this trend now, in the new year and beyond. The GRACE Project is one such initiative which will strengthen the society’s ability to resist gang entry and enhance lifestyle choices away from criminal behaviour generally. She went on further to state that investment in the young people, especially those who are seemingly more susceptible to the lure of gang culture, is critical. “The Community Policing Section (COPS) is charged with the responsibility of engaging with communities across all 10 policing divisions, and the over 100 active Police Youth Clubs will continue to play a vital role in the fight to dismantle the ‘gang and gun culture’ that entice some of our nation’s youth.

The Acting Top Cop said that collaboration with like-minded persons and organizations is essential, as she noted that last Friday the TTPS partnered with the US Embassy to host ‘Christmas on the Hill’, where over 1000 children were treated to games, rides, food, entertainment and toys, all in an effort to bridge the gap between the police and the community, as well as to break the ‘border line” culture, which pits communities against each other in a battle, where lives are lost and no one truly gains.

“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,” said the Acting Commissioner. “With that being said, I make another clarion call to all, to help us in our efforts, use the contact numbers available, 555, 999, 911, or 800-TIPS or share the information on the TTPS App, if we reduce the number of accessible illegal guns then the number of gun–related homicides should also decrease.”

“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” the Acting Commissioner stated. “However, this incessant and expected call for action on the part of the TTPS does not fall on deaf ears. As an organization we are actively seeking to deal with our deficiencies. We have partnered with local and international organizations 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”, she added.

Commissioner Ag Christopher also shared that while we all want instant success; some initiatives will take a period of time before the country can reap the rewards of these investments in our human resource capital.
“Have confidence that the TTPS is making significant discoveries and interventions, including initiating prosecutions. Our system as it relates to informants has not been compromised and Crime Stoppers and 555 remain highly confidential, as well as the new number, 736-TTPS to access the Commissioner’s direct intervention”, said the Acting Commissioner, “We continue to urge your very necessary support without which the success of our initiatives will be severely constrained.”