Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith wants to make it clear that there is a difference between a State Witness and someone in Trinidad and Tobago’s Witness Protection Programme (WPP). He said the country’s WPP is full-proof adding that, “our witness protection programme is one of the best in the world; there has been a 100% success rate of all persons who are in Witness Protection Programme in Trinidad and Tobago- not one person has ever been injured.”
Griffith was responding to the question of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service’s (TTPS) crime detection rate on Power 102’s Power Breakfast Show this morning. He said human intelligence is the primary basis for solving crime but said that witnesses are often unwilling to share information with the police. When one of the hosts noted that State witnesses are killed for sharing information (as was the case with the doubles vendor in Curepe in August) Griffith noted that State Witnesses often refused to be placed in WPP. He said, “Some State witnesses say “I do not want to be in your programme, I want to stay outside” and when that happens and the person is killed, it is very difficult…are we supposed to put 24-hour protection on each individual?” Griffith noted that some persons may have valid reasons for keeping the information to themselves but added that this is one of the reasons why some cases remained unsolved.
Griffith said the TTPS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the New York Police Department (NYPD) and other agencies who have confirmed that detection rate is based on human intelligence. This is particularly the case when a drive-by crime occurs and there is no DNA or other evidence that can be used to catch a suspect. He noted that, in many cases, someone always sees something but their unwillingness to give statements slows the rate of crime detection.