Specialised Gang Unit set up in Tobago

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Specialised Gang Unit set up in Tobago

In a bid to address the worrying rise in murders and gang violence on the sister isle, a specialised gang unit has now been set up by Tobago police.

The revelation was made by ACP Collis Hazel, the head of the Tobago Police Division, who said the gang unit’s primary focus is to target gang-related crimes and violence, which have contributed to the record-high murder toll in 2023 of 13 murders.

Hazel said the unit is already operational and has begun its work to address this “urgent problem.”

The ACP, in a GML interview, also promised a reduction in murders in 2024 through the efforts of this newly established unit.

Hazel said: “One murder is too much in this small island of Tobago, and therefore it is imperative for my position to ensure that we reduce murders in all forms.”

He noted plans to establish gang intelligence units and other programmes aimed at reducing crime on the island. He said it is evident that Tobago police officers are committed to ensuring the safety and security of both citizens and tourists.

“We have had our officers going out there and engaging churches, schools, village concerts, town meetings. They were meeting people…whereby they were able to sensitise them. Crime fighting is everyone’s business. Also, no longer do officers sit in our police stations and wait on people to solve crime.”

He said this approach has led to a crime detection rate of 34 per cent.

“Our serious crimes are down. But while we continue to share that, the public continues to be heavily vested in the murders being up. That’s what they are interested in, but serious crimes are serious crimes and will continue to be serious crimes. We cannot just be judged by murder alone.

“We need to look at that and make a cognizant view of the fact that at the end of the day we need to look at the policing holistically.”