Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles believes a better relationship between the public and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is the key to success in the fight against crime.
Charles and Chief Administrator Raye Sandy met with members of the Tobago Division of the TTPS, including acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Garfield Moore and acting Senior Superintendent Joanne Archie, to discuss the issue of crime in Tobago and crime-reduction measures being enforced.
Following the meeting, the Chief Secretary said he is “confident that the police are doing their best in the circumstances”. He said information from the public on crimes being committed in Tobago is also critical in the fight against crime.
“…That is the only way that some of these offences will be resolved,” Charles said. “That is why I urge all Tobagonians to respond positively to the initiatives of the police and be supportive of the police as they carry out their investigations.
“There is need for us to build on a trust relationship with the police, and we shall be engaging in a number of initiatives in that regard, because quite frankly, crime cannot be solved unless we have persons who are prepared to provide information and to come forward and be witnesses. So we understand some of the challenges and we shall move resolutely to treat with them.”
The Chief Secretary is urging Tobagonians to be vigilant, to support police efforts by reporting incidents, and to cooperate “on a continuous basis” with police. Charles added that he has already begun meeting with “key stakeholders” to discuss crime, following which he will “engage the Tobago community”.
He said these talks will inform an “overarching safety and security initiative” for Tobago.
Moore, the Tobago Division’s most senior officer, said the police is employing new and existing strategies to deal with an increase in violent crimes. He said the Chief Secretary has committed to supporting the police through collaboration and providing whatever resources it can.
The acting ACP declined to outline the strategies the police is taking, which he said could compromise the effectiveness of their plans. He said, however, that he has observed a trend where crime is concerned.
“There has been an increase in persons [from] Trinidad who collaborate with persons from Tobago,” Moore said. “And we realise that their [modus operandi, or pattern of operation] has changed. And we have taken note of that, and we are dealing with that to ensure that we can nip it in the bud and not allow it to escalate further.”
Moore, however, said he is encouraged by a group of young officers in Tobago who are “going beyond the call of duty”.
He is also proud that more residents are providing suggestions and taking the initiative to help reduce crime in their communities.
“In fact, yesterday at Buccoo, there was this march [for] peace,” Moore said. “And that was really commendable that the community could have really seen it fit that ‘something is happening in our community and we want to stop it, and we have taken the initiative without the police being the lead’.”