Police Association in support of crime plan for Tobago

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Police Association in support of crime plan for Tobago

Gideon Dickson, the head of the T&T Police Service Social and Welfare Association, said they are in support of the Government’s plan to make Tobago a hard target against criminal elements.

Speaking on CNC 3’s Morning Brew yesterday, Dickson noted the violence on the island began to increase earlier this year and described the plan to send additional officers as “positive.”

“I must commend those in authority for the initiative to try to redeploy some resources to Tobago. And it has begun since about May of this year. I know resources have been redeployed in terms of the IATF and the GEB going up there and providing a layer of support to the residing officers in Tobago. This ought to continue over the next couple of months.”

Dickson said, though, there are logistical issues to consider as officers are staying at a TTPSSWA building in the short term.

“When we were engaged in relation to this initiative by the commissioner, we as an association saw it as a positive move for a temporary purpose and as such, our building in Tobago we provided it as a haven or as a place by which the officers can in fact be located and deployed to go and treat with the issues that are impacting Tobago.”

He said officers were satisfied with the accommodation which is being paid for by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

“The THA is also playing their part to ensure that this arrangement works.

“They are assisting with the interim accommodation and they pay the rental for that.”

He said if the plan, as it seems to him, is to make the relocation “more permanent,” then alternative accommodation must be sourced for the officers.

“If the intention is to go long term, then the authorities will also have to look at getting another place or other settings for officers to be redeployed.

“The building that the association owns is in the western part of the island and you are seeing crime taking place throughout the length and breadth of Tobago, so you would need to also redeploy resources.”

Dickson added there were several measures which he believed could be implemented to enhance the effectiveness of the additional officers being sent to the island.

He suggested vehicle scanners be implemented at the ports and scanning of people travelling across to Tobago by air be improved.

“That needs to be taken into serious consideration. It might cause some inconvenience to commuters, however, it will be a deterrent to those with the criminal mind who are getting in and out of Tobago rather easily and without any resistance at this point in time.

“Together with the CCTV and the cybercrime, it is important that we have the scanners. We also need to redeploy some of our sniffer dogs at the port and at the airport in a more meaningful way to be able to address what is taking place in Tobago at this point in time.”

Dickson said this, coupled with proper co-ordination of resources, is the best way to “bring about a level of safety and safe haven” in Tobago.

“Every single unit in Tobago needs to work together. It is not the interagency task force and guard and emergency acting in silos compared to the divisional commander and their troops and all other law enforcement agencies across Tobago.

“It is about time all the entities, through some system of operation, come together, assess critically, share information and approach the situation that is before Tobago strategically. It is not just having presence, it is utilising the presence for a particular outcome.”