Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is making his personal cellphone number a Crime Hotline. Members of the public are being encouraged to Whatsapp or text 482-GARY (4279) to report criminal activities to the police.
Four days after assuming office, Griffith promised that the information would be handled in a confidential manner.
Griffith claimed that people are reluctant to pass on information to the other crime hotline numbers such as 800-TIPS and 555, hence the reason he’s offering an alternative. “So if is one person you can trust, and be assured it would not be passed on for fear of reprisal, it is me.”
Griffith, who gave out the number on a morning television show yesterday, said within hours of the number going public he received over 400 calls and messages which he then passed on to his divisional heads for further investigation.
Contacted on this new initiative, a retired assistant commissioner of police responded that while the initiative is a good one, it will be short-lived.
“He will be inundated with calls, he will not be able to sleep. Everybody will want to call him. After a week he will turn it off.”
In his first address as Police Commissioner last Friday, Griffith said at a media conference at the Ministry of National Security in Port of Spain that he intends to ensure that public trust and confidence is brought back to the Police Service .
He said members of the public would now be able to provide additional information to what would have normally been made available through 800-TIPS and 555. He is requesting specifically: “Information on pending serious criminal, and information on the perpetrators of a serious crime that has taken place.”
He said if the initiative could stop one crime from being committed, he would have done his duty.
“I find ways to make things happen and don’t make excuses why things cannot happen.”
Griffith said 800-TIPS and 555 will continue to function and he promised that when people contact him, he will forward just the message and not their contact number. He said the measure is a temporary one.
Questioned as to whether police officers are on board with the idea, Griffith said all police officers will welcome any opportunity to get information to deal with a matter.