Griffith turns TTPS intelligence-driven

CoP Gary Griffith is convinced the introduction of new and innovative policies, some of which are intelligence-driven, have contributed in a meaningful way to a decrease in homicides between September and October.

Up until yesterday, the murder toll stood at 459. Griffith said every effort is being made to reduce homicides.

The new anti-crime initiatives worked well when he assumed office, he said, and he believes that with more policies being rolled out, the country will reap the desired results. Griffith says the level of murders can only change with the transformation of the police. “It cannot just be more patrols, more roadblocks. I am turning the TTPS into an intelligence-driven one,” Griffith said, adding that the ultimate barometer of a country’s crime status is homicide.

He said in every situation there will be some loopholes but the intention is to plug those loopholes to make the country safer. “I cannot reveal some of the intelligence-driven initiatives introduced to deal with murders, but I can assure the country that they will see some results,” he promised.

He said there had been a reduction every month for the past three months and his intention is to get back to “acceptable levels” of fewer than 150 murders a year, which was the case way back in 2000 and 2001. He recalled that in May, June and July this year homicides increased compared to last year: “about 17 per cent for May, 20-something per cent in June and 50-something per cent in July.” In August, there was a five per cent reduction in homicides, 23 per cent in September and for October, a 27 per cent reduction.

“So there has been a drastic reduction compared to last year when (the annual figure) was 495.”

He is “ fighting heavily now,” he said, “because we have a system which has not been the appropriate method to deal with curbing homicides.”

Griffith also said more intelligence-driven policing, as well as Tasers and pepper sprays, body cameras for police, the revamping of the E999 system, cameras in police vehicles, a new cold case unit, better customer training for police are among the policies which will help them and the country. Criminologist Prof Ramesh Deosaran did not wish to comment yesterday on the spike in murders. He said it needed to be carefully analysed before any comment is made and promised to do so at a later date.

There has also been a re­cent an­nounce­ment of a new elite unit to tack­le white-col­lar crime in T&T and promis­es that the “Big Fish” will be ar­rest­ed and brought to jus­tice. Grif­fith is as­sur­ing that it will not be a unit en­gag­ing in witch-hunt.

The Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Di­vi­sion (FID) with sub­units from Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Bu­reau, Fraud Squad, Pro­fes­sion­al Stan­dards Bu­reau, el­e­ments of Or­gan­ised Crime In­tel­li­gence Unit, and Cy­ber Crime Unit will be merged to form the new unit to tackle white-collar crime. This unit is to en­sure a more ef­fec­tive arm of the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) to deal with such crimes and at a faster ba­sis.

It would al­so en­sure bet­ter shar­ing of da­ta be­tween these units and like­wise, be­tween TTPS and oth­er units in the Min­istry of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty.

Griffith said that he intends to ac­quire lo­cal and in­ter­na­tion­al ex­per­tise to im­prove the ca­pa­bil­i­ty of this di­vi­sion. He also plans to do a mas­sive in­jec­tion in our le­gal de­part­ment by ap­point­ing a head of the Le­gal De­part­ment and a few oth­ers to en­sure that TTPS tight­ens up to pre­vent any loop­holes that can be used by per­sons if charged, as well as an in­ter­na­tion­al pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al team to do like­wise.

Griffith states that while the TTPS is an independent body, they need to li­aise with dif­fer­ent ex­ter­nal agen­cies to max­imise our ef­fec­tive­ness, in­clu­sive of the NSC, Chief Jus­tice, DPP, PCA, and of­fice of the AG.

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