Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 3rd 2017 Contents news A7
Friday, February 3, 2017 guardian.co.tt
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Police to focus on crime hotspots
National Security Minister Ed-
mund Dillon admits he was "not
comfortable with the results so far
with regard to the murder rate," and
he wants police officers to "get out
of the police station,"telling officers
"your presence is what will act as
The minister also dismissed calls for
a limited state of emergency, saying it
was not necessary as he trusts the "law
enforcement agencies" to bring crime
Dillon said he understood the context
in which the recent call by the Chagua-
nas, Couva/Pt Lisas and Penal/Debe
Chambers was made for a limited state
"I am very much conscious of the type
of murders and crimes taking place right
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon
now. I am not undermining the state of affairs we are
in right now. I am not saying there isn't a reason, but
what do they mean by a limited state of emergency?"
He said he was not sure if they are talking about limited
in terms of time or geography.
Dillon said section eight of the Constitution was
clear on when a state of emergency should be imposed
by the President. The country must be in a state of
war, there must be a natural disaster or in a state where
the country was under threat.
"A state of emergency," he said, means, "you have
exhausted all other methods." But Dillon said, "I still
have trust in the law enforcement agencies in bringing
Asked the basis for his trust at a time when citizens
are crying out for action in the face of spiralling crime,
Dillon said, "My trust to a large extent is based on
the large amount of persons within the agencies who
continue to work day in and day out."
He said the majority of persons in law enforcement
are "working assiduously." They are putting in a lot
of time and effort.
"They are the ones who have to deliver. They are
in the operational environment."
Dillon said there was need for "a number of targeted
operations," and wants law enforcement agencies to
"focus on the small number bent on creating havoc."
In a television interview, Dillon said, "The police
cannot be all over, but they must be as much as possi-
ble in areas where we consider there was a big threat.
Police cannot stay in the confines of a police station,
get out of the police station, be present, your pres-
ence in communities is what will act as a deterrent."
In the first 33 days of the year there have been 54
In early January, shortly before leaving this country
former US Ambassador John Estrada said if he was
in charge of the Police Service he would fire himself
in the face of a spiralling crime problem.
In response, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen
Williams said he saw no reason to resign. He said
he did not base his performance alone on murders.
"I will be the first person to walk if I am dissatisfied
with the effort that I am putting in and the results that
I'm getting. If murder was the only crime which occurs
in T&T I would have resigned," Williams said then.
Dillon would not give a fail or pass mark on the ef-
forts to bring murder down but said yesterday "murder
is the barometer by which we are measured and so
our efforts are targeted against bringing down that
Asked whether he felt powerless to hire or fire in
the Police Service, Dillon said, "I am not the man-
ager of the Police Service. That is the Police Service
Commission, the minister does not manage and does
not have the right to hire or fire."
He recalled attempts made by his government to
change the management of the Police Service shortly
after coming into power, "those attempts were sty-
mied by the Opposition. They took it to court. We
have seen that they went against the Bail Act which
was deemed null and void."
Dillon said as soon as the Bail Act fell down Ker-
lan "Miceman" George, who was killed outside the
Maracas/St Joseph Police Station last month, was
released on bail and went back to a life of crime. He
said the Government needs to have the "Opposition on
board, give support." He said crime was "not only for
one entity" it requires an inter-dependence approach.
Dillon rules out SoE
Minister Dillon said he has articulated to National
Security Agencies that government was prepared to
strengthen five strategic pillars in the fight against
These are: "prediction-which is in fact intelligence gath-
ering we feel there is a weakness, deterrent, detection,
prosecution, and rehabilitation, those are also areas we
can use to measure the agencies performance," he said.
Prediction, he said, allows the agencies acting on intel-
ligence to say in advance what the criminal element
intends to do "so we can take appropriate action."
In terms of deterrent, he said, this was where "we
ensure that the law enforcement agencies, the police
and Defence Force are managing resources in a way
that gives citizens a sense of security and comfort."
On the issue of detection, Dillon said, this was "how
can we as a government and I as minister assist with
the resources required to improve detection and pros-
Dillon also said there was need to improve the court
and judicial process. He said "we have people in remand
yard 12-15 more years waiting on trial, we have to look
at the Judiciary. If you commit a crime and you know
next week you going to trial that is a deterrent," he said.
Dillon said he will continue to do his best to deal with
"I will do my best and let God do the rest," he said.
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