The Police Service is explaining why it had patrol cars parked on the shoulder near the Hi Way Roti Shop, Freeport, and it is about preventing crashes and saving the lives of citizens.
In statement, the police said the Central Division had recorded a 32% reduction in road fatalities for the period January-December 1st, 2017, when compared to the corresponding period in 2016, and this is directly attributable to the strategic static patrols instituted in the division, particularly along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway, Freeport.
For the respective period, 17 road fatalities were recorded in the Central Division, against 25 the previous year.
“With specific reference to the area in the vicinity of the Highway Roti Shop, Freeport, since 2010, 11 fatal road traffic accidents were recorded, resulting in 14 deaths: 12 males and two females. This location is officially classified as the 'Freeport Accident Hotspot,' by the Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch, of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS)”.
In the Senate on Tuesday, Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen said that four police officers were sitting in two patrol vehicles on the shoulder chasing away customers to the roti shop and that it was a misuse of police resources.
His statement was described as mischievous by the Central Division's senior superintendent who said it was a crime fighting measure and to prevent people from parking on the highway shoulder.
Police said that 2014 was a particularly devastating year for road safety, with five lives being lost to road accidents, in that area, the police stated.
In Central Division alone from 2010 to year to date 2017, there were 336 deaths resulting from 279 fatal road traffic accidents. From those deaths, 219 resulted from fatal accidents on the highway.
Given the gravity of the situation and increasing complaints to the police to institute measures aimed at mitigating against the loss of life posed by motorists who park indiscriminately along the highway, as well as by passing vehicles, the strategic static patrols were introduced.
The most recent complaint came from the Councilor for Freeport/Chickland, Anil Balliram, at a police town meeting held at the Orange Field Hindu Primary School, Carapichaima, on September 6.
With the introduction of the strategic static patrols in the area, there has been a general decrease in fatalities with zero road deaths recorded for 2017 thus far, the police stated.
”In addition to the discernible positive effect of the static patrols in saving lives, the strategic nature of the location also enables a tactical response to reports of criminal activities in the area east and west of the Freeport Overpass.
The strategic static patrol instituted along the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway, Freeport, as well as along roadways in other parts of the country; forming part of the TTPS holistic policing strategy, will remain in effect”.