Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 14th 2014 Contents A4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Police officers are calling for pepper spray
and taser guns to assist them in their fight
These are the demands being made by the
Police Service Social and Welfare Associa-
The association s secretary, acting Insp
Michael Seales, in a telephone interview yes-
terday said for the Police Service to properly
fight crime and deal with suspects according
to first-world standards, such non-lethal
weapons must be made available.
Seales said for far too long officers have
been accused of giving the organisation a
bad name when it came to dealing with
members of the public and alleged perpe-
He was responding to suggestions that for
the Police Service to partner with the New
York Police Department (NYPD) would only
be spinning top in mud, as it would result
in T&T s adopting foreign methods which
could not work in this country.
Saying pepper spray and tasers were used
by "first world" police departments, Seales
said if local officers partnered with the NYPD,
one of the fundamental policing aspects they
would be exposed to was how to deal with
the community, handle volatile situations
and how to properly arrest suspects.
Over the weekend, National Security Min-
ister Gary Griffith said T&T wanted to further
its relationship with William "Bill" Bratton,
who was reappointed head of the NYPD last
Seales said very often complaints have
been made to the Police Complaints Authority
about police using brute and unnecessary
force. Such training from the NYPD and the
availability of pepper spray and tasers would
change that, he felt.
"In many instance when the police has to
arrest someone it ends in a confrontation,
whether violent or not but there is always
some sort of confrontation.
"When the police say, gentlemen, turn
around, you are under arrest, we find this
does not work. Instead of an officer pulling
his firearm, which could result in further
confrontation, the pepper spray and taser
would be other measures which they could
use to appropriately handle a suspect," Seales
Saying the police use of a gun should be
a "last resort and in the defence of life,"
Seales urged officers "not to live in the past"
where a closed fist was regularly seen as an
absolute avenue in combating crime and
"We do not want a situation where our
officers must feel there must be a thirst for
blood to deal with people. We want our offi-
cers to be professional, to have professional
tools and to be exposed to professional train-
ing," Seales said.
The association s president, acting Insp
Anand Ramesar, said the training with the
NYPD must not be "pigeonholed" only to
give the perception that local police would
be exposed to a culture and methods which
may be impractical for T&T.
Ramesar said in many court matters, the
method of arrests was "often found want-
Hailing Griffith for thinking outside the
box, Ramesar said previously officers at man-
agement level would be exposed to extensive
"What used to be the case was, these offi-
cers who are close to retiring would go to
the US or the UK.
"The training with the NYPD would ensure
that (everyone) from constable to assistant
police commissioner has the opportunity to
go. We have already compiled a very long
list of the names of officers who want to
train with the NYPD, " Ramesar said.
Spinning top in mud---Nizam
When it comes to solving crime and imple-
menting methods to improve the Police Serv-
ice, T&T is only going around in circles.
Former head of the Police Service Com-
mission Nizam Mohammed yesterday said
Griffith owed it to the nation to spell out
exactly how local police would be partnering
with the NYPD and what such training pro-
Mohammed said while people wanted to
support the Government in the fight against
crime, piecemeal efforts would not work.
Now cops want
pepper spray, tasers
North Eastern Division Police had a
busy day yesterday with officers seizing
seven guns and a cache of ammunition
in several anti-crime exercises in Mor-
vant and San Juan.
The were made by officers of the North
Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF) and
officers of the newly-formed Rapid
Response Unit (RRU) led by Senior Supt
In the first exercise, around 1.45 pm,
PC Wellington and WPC Samuel of the
RRU, were on patrol on Second Street,
Barataria, when they stopped and
searched a man who was liming outside
The 27-year-old suspect, of Santa Cruz,
had a loaded .38 revolver with five rounds
of ammunition tucked in his pants. He
was taken to the Barataria Police Station.
Five of the guns were recovered almost
simultaneously when officers of the
NEDTF responded to a report of a sus-
picious activity at Sapodilla Hill, Red Hill
When the officers arrived on the scene,
around 2 pm, they spotted a shotgun-
wielding man wearing a ski mask, sitting
near a wooden shack.
Investigators said when the suspect
saw the officers he got up, dropped the
gun and ran through a track. The officers
attempted to apprehend him but were
When they returned to the shack they
found three pistols, a revolver, two mag-
azines, 23 rounds of assorted ammunition
and five kilos of marijuana, hidden in a
bucket. The officers also found a ski mask
and a camouflage jacket.
Investigators believe the guns belonged
to a gang that operates in the community
and were used in recent robberies and
In a separate exercise, the 19-year-old
son of a television presenter was arrested
after police seized a shotgun in his car
in San Juan.
Around 4 pm officers were on patrol
on Fourth Street, Barataria, when they
noticed the suspect, who was driving a
Nissan B15, going through a no entry
While searching the trunk of the car
the officers found a 12-gauge shotgun
and eight shotgun cartridges.
The suspect was arrested and taken to
the Morvant Police Station where he was
being questioned up to last night.
Insp Roger Alexander, Cpl Sunil Bharath
and PCs Satish Mahabir, Clint Dass and
Andell Celestine were involved in the
Seven guns seized in Morvant, San Juan
Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley is
renewing his call for the Government to establish
a parliamentary committee to oversee and assist
the Government in the fight against crime.
He made the call during a news conference at his
office, Charles Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Rowley said with a record number of murders in
the first two weeks of 2014, it was clear the Gov-
ernment was unable to deal with the spate.
He said the Opposition suggested to the Govern-
ment in crime talks previously that a parliamentary
committee should be set up to work together and
assist in a meaningful way to deal with the crime
"We have put proposals to the Government to
put in place a parliamentary committee where we
can deal with these matters in the Parliament working
together," he added.
Rowley said the committee would be responsible
for overseeing crime, security and crime suppres-
He also said the Opposition was rejecting a call
from National Security Minister Gary Griffith to
meet to discuss the issue.
The Opposition was not accepting any respon-
sibility for the spate of murders, he said, after Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan said the Opposition s lack
of support for crime legislation was preventing the
Government s legislative fight against criminals.
In an interview on CNC3 s Morning Brew yesterday,
Ramlogan claimed the PNM had sent a message to
the underworld to continue to create crime chaos
to make the Government look bad. But Rowley rub-
bished this claim.
"This pappyshowing ---and with the Attorney
General accusing us of crimes and the National Secu-
rity Minister wanting to meet with the Opposition
--- we re not taking part in that pappyshow," he said.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar last year on the crime issue, he said: "We
get brushed aside," and subsequent crime deliberations
with Ramlogan were no more successful.
Rowley said the country could expect no improve-
ment in crime as long as the AG remained in Cab-
He also said the Police Service Commission (PSC)
was not to take any blame for the non-appointment
of a Commissioner of Police.
Rowley said no new commissioner could be
appointed until the Government took steps to ensure
the position was advertised as required by law. He
was not sure that any advertisements had been
placed since former commissioner Dwayne Gibbs
left in 2012.
He said the Opposition was prepared to amend
the process for appointing a Commissioner of Police
but the Government was not interested in having
The PNM leader said the Opposition supported
calls for the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to
be strengthened to allow it to independently inves-
tigate and prosecute rogue police.
He dismissed Ramlogan s claim that such a measure
was intended to undermine the Office of the Director
of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Rowley said giving the
PCA increased powers would make it an "effective
watchdog on rogue police officers."
He repeated a call for a manpower audit of the
Police Service, saying only after that could measures
be put in place to ensure the best was achieved from
officers. The Opposition Leader said the Government
has also not heeded a call from the PNM to amend
legislation or make new laws to make witness-tam-
pering a serious offence with serious penalties. On
the issue of the death penalty, Rowley said if the so-
called hanging bill was brought back to Parliament
by the Government, the Opposition would vote
against it again.
help fight crime
In 2010, six police officers were charged
with crimes linked to the arrest and
beating of three men shocked with a
taser gun at the Chaguanas Police
Sgt Rasool Balkaran and constables
Elton Charlerie, Lyndon Hosein, Ramesh
Boodram, Veda Persad and Samlal
Seepersad were granted bail of $75,000
each when they appeared before
Chaguanas magistrate Gillian Scotland.
Brothers Randy, 21, and Ricardo Youk-
See, 28, and neighbour Kyron Baptiste, 18,
all of Tunapuna, reported they were
beaten, tortured and threatened with
death for close to five hours by policemen
on the night of March 11 at the station.
COPS CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL USE
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