Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 28th 2014 Contents A6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 28, 2014
He said: "We need to look and deal
with the social dimension. When one
looks at the youth in some commu-
nities they would tell you they have
no other option but to commit crime.
Research has showed that intervention
and approaches tend to be more suc-
Seepersad said governments had
fallen short in coming up with a solid
solution in the last 15 years.
He said, "We have always seen
fighting crime as suppressive. Many
criminologists will tell you that the
more sustainable way to fight crime
is to come up with preventative
Seepersad said T&T had a reactive
model, in that we waited until things
went wrong and then stepped in to
Comparing T&T to other Caribbean
countries, Seepersad said our murder
rate was too high.
In the last decade, Seepersad said,
the highest number of crimes occurred
in hot spot areas.
He said, "We need to target the
high crime areas."
However, Seepersad said in the last
five years there had been improve-
ments as crime statistics were showing
a downward trend.
with the preventative intervention that
they are starting to put in place."
He pleaded with the ministry to
continue to use its budgetary allocation
appropriately and strategically. "I am
seeing some of that already."
Seepersad does not believe in mil-
itarising the protective services, but
allowing the police and army to work
strategically and effectively in areas
that are crime riddled.
Griffith: We are winning the crime
warNational Security Minister Gary
Griffith, meanwhile, said that T&T
was winning the war on crime as
major crime plummeted by as much
as 80 per cent. Degrading gang activity
was the next target, he said.
He said he intended to reduce gang
warfare, focus on terrorist activity,
and reduce the perception of fear
Griffith said, "If we could crack or
shut down the gang activity, this will
play a major part towards the reduc-
tion of homicides."
For 2013, Griffith said, 250 of the
400 murders were gang related.
In 2010, Attorney General Anand
Ramlogan said there were 110 gangs
operating in T&T, each with an average
membership of 12 people.
Asked if the six armoured personnel
carriers and 20 armoured vehicles he
intended to purchase would be used
to fight terrorists, Griffith said "no."
The vehicles, Griffith said, which
were expected to cost approximately
$1 million each, would be used to pro-
tect law enforcement officers.
Griffith said the six armoured per-
sonnel carriers will not be equipped
with any weaponry, while the 20
armoured vehicles similar to Sports
Utility vehicles come with bullet-
Each vehicle can withstand high-
powered rifles and grenades.
Griffith said every five days a police
officer is fired upon by criminals.
He said, "This has been going on
for the past two years. We are allowing
police officers to become a vulnerable
target and put their lives at risk. All
that we are doing is making sure police
officers are protected."
Griffith said the vehicles would be
used for specific situations such as
"volatile situations, counter terrorist
activity, and hostage negotiations."
Griffith promised to go all out to
fight the criminal elements by utilising
the $6.9 billion that was allocated to
his ministry in the 2014/2015 budget.
Over the last five years, the Ministry
of National Security has been allocated
Heerah: Gangs have heavy artillery'
Executive Director of the National
Operations Centre (NOC) Garvin
Heerah said that gangs have heavy
firepower and that security forces
must meet the threat with modern
equipment, tactics and training.
High-powered weapons and rifles
were confiscated in several raids and
there was information and intelligence
on their existence.
He said when weaponry of that
nature was being used against law
enforcement personnel, it was only
obvious that the security forces had
to scale up and put preventative and
protective mechanisms in place. Heer-
ah said the defence forces were also
escalating their vigilance and elevating
the standards of their weapons, uni-
forms, and protective gear to treat
with the risks that they faced.
Heerah said much of the equipment
being used by the armed forces were
near their expiration stage and for the
safety of its personnel, these weapons
and equipment had to be decommis-
He said the crime, the criminal,
and the criminality of the past were
different from today.
(See Pages A8, A9)
CHARLES KONG SOO
University of the West Indies (UWI) crim-
inology lecturer Daurius Figueira says
armoured vehicles and high-tech equipment
will not solve the problem of crime. But he
said the interdiction of drugs and arms and
the apprehension of those behind the illegal
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian on
Wednesday, he said, "The question arises, if
you have all this equipment and are not doing
any major drug and arms interdiction or
making a dent in these illicit activities, what
difference are you making?
"To buy such vehicles for the military is
a given and was expected in the 21st cen-
"If you're following the Brazilian model
where you go into the favelas or slums under
force and you take control of them using
military force, then you need armoured vehi-
He questioned what type of policing T&T
law enforcement was going to use with these
Figueira pointed out that even when secu-
rity forces moved into an area and put it
under paramilitary control in Brazil, the drug
trade did not end and sometimes flourished.
He said the experience in Rio de Janeiro
and Sao Paulo was that members of the secu-
rity forces took over the drug trade.
Figueira said the drug traders were dis-
placed from the poor communities in the
hillside and moved into the nearby suburbs
to ply their illicit trade. A similar phenomenon
could occur here, he added.
When asked whether the country was in
such a bad state that it needed military hard-
ware and equipment like UAVs (unmanned
aerial vehicles), CCTV systems, marine patrol
vessels, weapons, ammunition and armoured
personnel carriers (APCs) for its defence, he
said it showed the police were not outgunned
by the criminals.
Figueira said it all depended on those set-
ting security policy and defining the threat
and they were not going to make that public.
Armoured vehicles not the solution
Griffith: We are winning
the war against crime
Continued from Page A3
• 13 police surveillance bays
constructed along the medians
of the Uriah Butler and Solomon
Hochoy highways at a cost of
over $10 million
• Community Comfort Patrol
launched at a cost of $5.2
million for a trial period of four
• A visible increase in law
throughout the country with
more anti-crime operations,
roadblocks and stop and search
• Modernization and
development of the Crime Scene
Investigation capabilities to
improve detection rates
• Re-establishing of bilateral
relationships with Venezuela
and Colombia so as to foster a
collaborative approach to border
• Utilizing William Bratton and
the former Mayor of New York
Rudy Giuliani, who together
were responsible for the
massive crime reduction in New
York city. This partnership would
result in a national security
assessment for T&T, as well as
establish working relationships
between the NYPD and the
TTPS and other lead national
• The establishment of a
National Security Special
Operations Group, a highly
trained Counter Terrorism
Group, involving members of
TTPS, TTDF, Prisons and
• Acquisition of 12,500 body
• An additional 1,000 police
officers and 1,400 special
reserve police officers recruited
• $70 million spent by
Government to increase the
TTPS' fleet of vehicles by 200
• Eight state-of-the-art police
stations with computerised
technology constructed in
Arima, Piarco, Maloney, Cumuto,
La Brea, Oropouche, Brasso and
• Rapid response units within
various police divisions
strengthened with more than
330 police vehicles equipped
with GPS tracking systems.
• Harbour patrol vessels for
• Body cameras for TTPS
• Expansion of CCTV network
by 500 cameras throughout T&T
• Customer service and protocol
training of police officers to
improve police professionalism
on the job and in their
interactions with citizens
•Use of simulation theatres to
train officers in real life
encounters to ensure minimum
use of force
• Training of more than 269
Crime Scene Investigators to
increase the staff at the
Homicide Investigations Bureau
of the TTPS.
•Ordered 2,500 9mm pistols
•Volunteer Defence Force was
called out to provide security
assistance from August 29 to
January 7, 2015.
CRIME FIGHTING MEASURES UNDERTAKEN
FROM 2010 TO 2014
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