Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 29th 2014 Contents interview
www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 2014
with Clevon Raphael
Q: Mr Commissioner, let us
immediately get down to
brass tacks on this very
serious business of crime in the
country, why is the crime detection
rate so abysmally low?
A:(Hands on his lap in his
office at the T&T Police
Building on Sackville Street, Port-
of-Spain, Wednesday afternoon):
The issue has come to the fore at
this time, but the organisation s
detection rate has been poor for
many, many years. One of the things
which impact our detection rate has
to do with public confidence and
trust in the Police Service...sharing
information freely with the police.
The police have had basically a
challenge with their relationship with
If we cannot solve the crime then
we would be spinning top in mud...
Well, that is why in 2013 when
we pursued our operating plan one
of the major focus had to do with
us looking at prevention as we seek
to build capacity and to treat detec-
tion as an additional feature, pre-
vention being the dominant feature.
If you don t have crime there is
none to detect. You agree with me?
If you prevent crime you have less
But the public is not satisfied
with the current rate of detection?
Well, I am not too sure you are
correct. In 2013 T&T recorded 13,146
serious crimes, the lowest recorded
figure for serious crimes since 1985.
Some people may say, well, it is an
issue of people not reporting, but
the issues of trust and confidence
in the Police Service is not today, so
that is not necessarily a factor at all.
(Outstretched hands) We went
about on a thrust in a clear, delib-
erate, strategic approach towards
prevention. In 2013 the Government
provided the service with an addi-
tional 332 vehicles. We went on a
massive drive...a visible, active police
presence across T&T and any citizen
who says "I am not seeing a big dif-
ference with the presence of police,"
I would say they are not speaking
I am not denying that fact, but
isn t it a question of the police not
being motivated to work harder on
the rate particularly as it relates to
No, No, because it is not one issue
when you have to consider detection
of offences. Even if we go into
analysing crime detection, what we
have found is that across the country
you have different levels of detec-
In certain divisions you have a
high of 40 per cent which is quite
different from other locations.
Port-of-Spain detection rate is
(emphasising) extremely low. But if
you take the dominant rural com-
munities Eastern and South Western
What accounts for these varying
The people in rural communities
still carry a very close working rela-
tionship with the police. In the urban
areas where we have all the depressed
communities as Laventille,
Beetham...when a crime is commit-
ted you do not get people sharing
anything with you.
The fact that you are seeing a high
number of crimes being committed
with a low detection rate, doesn t
that say the police have to pay greater
attention to these affected areas?
Yes, I agree, and that is exactly
what we are doing. We have
increased our level of presence, and
an area where we have had a his-
torical challenge to treat with violent
crimes is the broad east Port-of-
Spain/Laventille area. We have gone
into those locations focusing on, if
you may say so, the softer side of
the TTPS engaging with the young
Because when we do so, we would
be making a big difference as they
would become the adults of tomor-
row with a completely different
mindset from those teenagers who
are presently hurting the country by
way of violence.
Continues on Page A11
Laventille as a community will not share information with the police in
their efforts to combat criminal activities, but the depressed area can be
saved from the ravages of the gun-toting killers.
This is the optimistic stance of Acting Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams who has been heading the T&T Police Service (TTPS) since 2008.
Williams who joined the TTPS as a constable in 1979 and studied for
his law degree while in the service, speaks of how he felt when he was
bypassed by the then government for the position after meeting all the
He said there will be a major change in the TTPS in the next three years,
with the accent on quality service to the public and an increase in the
crime detection rate.
'Lack of trust for
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