Police Commissioner Gary Griffith greets New Grant resident Hesper Ali, and Moruga MP Michelle Benjamin, at a community meeting in New Grant on Monday 1 February 2021. (Image: KRISTIAN DE SILVA)
RADHICA DE SILVA
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Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says the irresponsible actions of some police officers, as well as the release of sensitive information to the media, has been hampering his quest to rescue kidnap victim Andrea Bharatt.

Today makes it four days since 23-year-old Andrea was kidnapped after boarding a car at Arima on Friday afternoon.

Griffith, who spoke to the media at the New Grant Primary School after a community town meeting on Monday night, said he was disappointed in the actions of some officers.

“I know the media do have a responsibility and I understand that. Sometimes the public needs to know what is happening—sometimes in real-time pertaining to any major concern—but as it pertains to kidnapping, this is a very sensitive crime,” Griffith said.

He added: “The more information that goes out to the public, the greater impact it can have on the safety of the victim.

Speaking specifically to the Andrea Bharatt kidnapping, Griffith said:

“Unfortunately, I have seen on too many occasions especially with this recent kidnapping, too much information being pumped out to the public.”

He added: “It may be because there are too many media personnel who are trying too much to do their job, but I’ve also been informed that officers have acted in an irresponsible manner.  I am asking the public to understand that when it comes to the kidnapping situation, we have to be very careful about how much information comes out.  The more information that comes out, the people holding the victim may do the wrong thing because they are being pressured.”

Griffith said there have been changes in how the TTPS handles kidnappings.

“You would have seen over the past few years there has been a difference in how we deal with kidnappings. We deal with it in a very scientific way. On almost every occasion we apprehend the perpetrators,” he said.

He noted that several people have been arrested in connection with Andrea Bharatt’s kidnapping.

“However, we cannot and must not reveal any more information until this matter has been dealt with,” he added.

Griffith also said that his main concern was bringing Andrea Bharatt back home.

“The main concern that we have, that citizens have is to try to bring the young lady back home. The more information that is pumped out to the public, it can affect the operation,” he added.

Andrea Bharatt was last seen entering a PH-taxi at King Street, Arima, by a co-worker but she never returned to her Arima Old Road home.

Over the weekend, five people were arrested and some of Andrea’s belongings were found at a house.  However, she remains missing.