Griffith- We need to work to­geth­er as a team in sec­ondary crime pre­ven­tion.

Un­less sec­ondary crime pre­ven­tion is im­ple­ment­ed quick­ly, T&T could be sad­dled with more than 100,000 new crim­i­nals in the next five years. That was the warn­ing from Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith when he ad­dressed a meet­ing of the Ch­agua­nas In­ter­a­gency Team on Wednes­day night.

Grif­fith re­ferred to a re­cent so­cial me­dia video of a group of teenagers and chil­dren walk­ing through Nel­son Street, Port-of -Spain, mim­ic­k­ing gang­sters.

“You can’t write off these young peo­ple and say it’s a lost cause, it’s not. It’s sim­i­lar to the 12-year-old that threat­ened to kill me,” he said, adding that such sit­u­a­tions were the “prod­uct of our so­ci­ety where cer­tain adults now…the 5000 gang mem­bers have been push­ing this style on to our young peo­ple.”

Grif­fith said while law en­force­ment units cur­rent­ly have nu­mer­i­cal and tac­ti­cal su­pe­ri­or­i­ty, this could change in five years if sec­ondary crime pre­ven­tion mea­sures are not strength­ened.

He added: “We need to work to­geth­er as a team to deal with that as­pect of sec­ondary crime pre­ven­tion. The more we work in sec­ondary crime pre­ven­tion, the less is re­quired in pri­ma­ry crime pre­ven­tion which is where the polic­ing comes in.

“Hav­ing said that I will do my job deal­ing with pri­ma­ry crime pre­ven­tion. It is re­al­ly im­por­tant for us not to look at sec­ondary crime pre­ven­tion, not as a sec­ondary com­mod­i­ty. It’s so im­por­tant. If we do not deal with this sit­u­a­tion now, in years to come we will be out­num­bered be­cause of what we are see­ing with cer­tain young per­sons in so­ci­ety. They are look­ing up at these in­di­vid­u­als and are see­ing them as the Robin Hoods of the com­mu­ni­ty.

“This is why I speak to you here. You will be aware who are the thugs, who are the punks, who are the gang mem­bers, who are the per­sons on the street cor­ners who are try­ing to in­flu­ence young per­sons in­to a life of crime be­cause it’s easy to in­flu­ence young minds.”

The Com­mis­sion­er said ini­tia­tives as the po­lice youth clubs and com­mu­ni­ty polic­ing will be strength­ened. He al­so point­ed out that his meet­ings with com­mu­ni­ty and busi­ness groups should be about much more than try­ing to of­fload crime plans and make re­quests for a firearms li­cense.

Grif­fith said he is deal­ing with 13,000 ap­pli­ca­tions for firearms li­cens­es and will be act­ing with­in the law to is­sue them to suc­cess­ful ap­pli­ca­tions.

On the is­sue of po­lice re­sponse to crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty, he an­nounced that ten emer­gency re­sponse pa­trol ve­hi­cles will be as­signed specif­i­cal­ly to the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion to re­spond di­rect­ly to calls from an op­er­a­tional cen­tre.

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