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Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.

RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has thanked the military for supplying what he said were “50-odd” soldiers to assist the police during the current State of Emergency.

At a media conference yesterday, TTPS’ Social and Welfare Association president Gideon Dickson also said officers were suffering from “wear and tear” because of the amount of work they’ve had to do and asked for others to show the same commitment.

Some 2,000 police officers have been deployed by the Police Service during the SoE.

“The Chief of Defence Force asked if we had the capability for 400 patrols daily. I am very good with management, I am very good with leadership, so I give him the assurance that I can get maximum productivity with the resources that I have. I am aware of importance for high visibility and patrols and will do all that is required, so even though I appreciate his concern, I know what is required…high visibility and high turnout and my focus is on the T&T Police Service, so I’m not here to talk about what the TTDF has to say,” Griffith said.

“That’s not my business. But I thank the CoDF for providing us with 50-odd soldiers to join the TTPS’ 2,000 officers on a nightly basis and wish to thank him. We are a team. The TTPS is leading this operation, just like last year.”

Dickson said he believes that at this point, police officers have demonstrated great commitment.

“We’ve been on the frontline and an SoE has been called. It is an ample, ideal opportunity for us in law enforcement to continue to work together and it would assist us in our ability to ensure the country is safe. So yes, we will welcome any support and I believe the data speaks for itself in what has been given in the past in terms of support.”

Dickson added, “Our officers have been on the frontline and will be feeling the wear and tear. Every day you come and you can see how many officers impacted and even come back out to duty based on the same dedication. We want that same to be shown by those who also are involved in the fight at this point in time. So just come up, we can do this together. We will not expose our officers to co-mingling. But strategically, collaboratively, we can get the job done. We can pull back from where we are.”

He also mentioned the cooperation and good working relationship with the TTPS’ Marine Patrols and T&T Coast Guard (TTCG).

“It is operational. We have not made the official launch as yet. I want it to coincide with the opening of the Carenage Police Station but we have started and intend to intensify and expand on the marine unit.”

Dickson added, “So we would be patrolling in the Gulf of Paria, swamp, low-lying waters and also have vessels now doing patrols in the Chaguaramas area and the South Western Peninsula and working hand in hand with the TTCG. We work together. So any concern with animosity…no, we work together. We provide 427 patrols daily and they provide two convenience patrols.”

Dickson noted that police officers have not shirked their responsibilities.

“Police officers are tired from 2019 Local Government (election), then Carnival, then COVID, then elections, then riot attempts…they have not stopped. But the fact is they have fuel and the fuel is high motivation and morale and there’s a strong degree of pride and passion and the public giving them that support. They don’t have to wait to be told what is required,” he said.

With the recent assurance of the release of $200 million from the Ministry of Finance, Griffith said that it will be put to good use.

“There was a $200 million decrease in budget and we will make do with what we have. Obviously, during this pandemic there is an increased cost. We met with the Minister of Finance and he provided us with funds to offset the outstanding expenses we have. As CoP I have to look at every cent spent to get max use of it so the goal is also to ensure that every police officer would have a body cam and taser to ensure authority is not abused and officers who are wrongfully accused could show that what they say is not true,” Griffith said.