From as early as Wednesday the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) signalled its intentions to provide a strong deterrent to crime by conducting a series of exercises, operations, and community engagements which are part of a strategic approach aimed at keeping the public safe over the Indian Arrival Day long weekend.
With public safety in mind, officers of the Eastern Division embarked on “A Day of Increased Police Visibility”, conducted between Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th May. The operation included roving road checks, traffic exercises, DUI exercises, raids and searches and warrant exercises. As a result, 25 persons were arrested for various offences, 14 warrants were executed, 1.06 kilogrammes of marijuana and two rounds of 5.56 ammunition were found and seized.
Officers of the North Central- Northern Division continued the pushback against criminality as they arrested 12 persons between Thursday 27th and Sunday 29th May. The successful exercises led to persons being detained for malicious damage, a DUI and larceny of TSTT cable, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of marijuana. Fourteen persons were arrested throughout all Divisions for various drug-related offences during the weekend.
Meanwhile, officers of the Central Division also conducted exercises and patrols which resulted in the arrest of seven persons. The suspects were arrested for various offences including enquiries into possession of a firearm and ammunition, wounding, wounding with intent, robbery, malicious damage and breaching a protection order.
The relentless effort to remove illegal firearms from our communities continued over the weekend as eight such weapons and various quantities of ammunition were seized, which resulted in the arrest of seven persons.
In the Southern Division, two men were arrested during an exercise at the Brian Lara Stadium on Sunday. A 41-year-old Vistabella man was found in possession of a Taurus pistol with 13 rounds of nine-millimetre ammunition. He was arrested by officers of the Guard and Emergency Branch after a tip off led to the search. The other man was arrested while attempting to obstruct the officers in the arrest of the Vistabella man. He was found to be in possession of $20,000 when officers searched him.
Six persons were also arrested during a warrant exercise which was conducted in the Area West of the Southern Division.
An anti-crime exercise was carried out in the Mon Repos Police district, Southern Division between 2pm and 4pm yesterday. Based on information received the party of officers proceeded to St Andrews Park West where they found a black bag containing one black Glock 45 pistol containing one magazine with ten rounds of nine-millimetre ammunition at an empty lot to the back of an apartment building.
While a strong police presence was evident throughout the weekend, the TTPS did not only focus on drug blocks, patrols and roadblock exercises. Critical to the success of the TTPS is building strong community relations, Community Partnership is in fact one of the strategic priorities of the TTPS. This strategic goal moved from the pages of a document to reality when officers of the Southern and Northern Divisions organised walkabouts in their various communities on Saturday 28th May.
Officers of the Arima Police district collaborated with the Wallerfield Farmers Association, and several families involved in farming from Tractorpool Road, Nicaragua Road and Chile Road, Wallerfield who shared concerns and discussed opportunities for a cohesive and collaborative partnership between the groups. Officers also advised the farmers on ways to make themselves ‘hard targets’ to perpetrators of crime.
Officers of the San Fernando Police Station and the La Romaine Police Post met with the La Romaine Community Impact team members. The officers focused on the Bronx area, Temple Street, Claude Street, and environs. Members of the community expressed their pleasure with the initiative and saw it as a positive move by the TTPS and shared that they are looking forward to having a closer relationship with the police.
A similar exercise was also done in Barrackpore, by officers of the Barrackpore Police Station, Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Barrackpore Station Council. This initiative was geared towards gathering information about crimes in the respective areas and educating residents about personal safety whilst building relationships with the community. The residents were appreciative of the efforts by the police.
As further community engagements continue throughout all Divisions, it is hoped that these efforts will lead to renewed trust and greater confidence in the TTPS. Which in turn would foster more reporting of crimes, similar to the tip-off over the weekend that led to the arrest of a man and the removal of yet another illegal gun from the community.