Hinds says Persad-Bissessar irresponsible for telling police to use full force against criminals

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Hinds says Persad-Bissessar irresponsible for telling police to use full force against criminals

“Dangerous and reckless!”

That’s the way National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has described the call by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar call for police officers to “return fire with full force” against criminals.

In a GML interview, Hinds said: “She has now gone on to call on the police in particular to stand your ground, empty the clip, lock it, cock it. Now I speak as a former police instructor, I speak as an attorney-at-law and, of course, as a legislator and Minister of National security, as far as I and the police are aware, the law and the ethos is and has always been no more than is absolutely necessary is to be used.”

Persad-Bissessar made the call while addressing supporters at the launch of the Star slate for the party’s June 15 internal elections at the Couva South Multipurpose Hall on Monday night.

Persad-Bissessar said when faced with danger, police officers have the right to defend themselves.
She added, “I’m warning this country that we cannot tie our police officers’ hands when they respond in pursuit of violent criminals. Officers only have a split second to respond to attacks, we cannot have our officers doubting our support, this can cost them their lives.”

But Hinds yesterday said the call for officers to stand their ground was misguided and that a police’s right to defend themselves while in the line of duty has never ceased.

“The lady, in trying to gain support for her reckless comment months ago, is calling on the police saying they must have the right to defend themselves. The lady does not realise apparently, senior counsel as she is, that the police always had that right, they have that right. They have used that right on many occasions but they are constrained to observe the principle that you must use no more force than is necessary.

“So if the police is able to subdue a man with a baton or with a taser, or with gas and then go on to use a lethal barrel weapon and pump bullets into this man, who is already under control, then that police exposes himself to criminal prosecution.”

Hinds said he was confident the TTPS is sufficiently grounded and professional enough to reject the “reckless” comment.