Friday, December 15, 2017

Rapid Response Units only for those who need it

 I read a letter by a Jonathan Cooper (Saturday Express), applauding the work of a recently launched unit in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), interestingly identified as the Rapid Response Unit (RRU). Mr Cooper seems quite impressed with this unit, to the point of taking time out to highlight and applaud their efforts. One cannot help but wonder why, in this land where no one has confidence in any of the many State institutions, especially the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). 

Perhaps Mr Cooper can explain why the majority of citizens of this land take a view different from his on the RRU, or any of the many units of the TTPS. I have held, and maintain, without fear or favour, that the numerous challenges in crime faced in this land are a direct result of the professional incompetence parading as policing in Trinidad and Tobago. Support for my argument was made in the observation at the launch of this unit recently, which was met with much pomp and glitter by leaders of this nation, who saw nothing inherently flawed in their concept. 

A Rapid Response Unit in the TTPS is an oxymoron. As for the police officers reading this: no, I did not say the police is a “moron” as I have been accused of

each time I use the term as it relates to

the TTPS, though such an argument can

 be made. Mr Cooper, however, seems fascinated that he is “seeing RRU vehi­cles and officers everywhere...seeing the

blue and yellow vehicles, with their blue

flashing lights on routine patrol”. He even

cited a “discovery” made of a 13-year-old girl who was reported missing.

Hate to have to point to your flawed argument, sir, and for those who advance your views, that this RRU is a complete waste of time. For starters, it is made of members of the same TTPS who hold bankers hours and approach crime with a 9-5 attitude, working apparently on a quota basis. The statistics on the their website support my analysis as the detection rates have been consistent in every category for the past several years—with the exception for drugs: always “100% reported and 100% detected”.

I recall when the TTPS went ahead and added “To Serve with Pride” on their fleet of vehicles, around September of 2007, and I argued then that adding a motto will not and cannot change a subculture rooted in incompetence and abuse of power. But the TTPS has a history of promoting incompetence, rewarding corruption and transferring their rogue elements, yet complain of “rogue elements”.  

There is no need for a RRU, if only when citizens call, the police simply respond as should be standard operating procedure. If the managers in this organisation barely understood the concept of patrol, it would mean a unit would be close-by, thereby insuring the response was indeed “rapid”. This, of course, is in contrast with the historical response, “We eh ha no vehicles” (or driver). 

If the RRU understood policing, the madness which brought this nation to a grinding halt on Wednesday as a result of an overturned tanker around 10 a.m. on the Uriah Butler Highway, which resulted in traffic at 8 p.m. on the Eastern Main Road, would never have been possible. 

Based on their idea of the RRU, I humbly suggest the Fire Service launch their own RRU, and a similar one be put in place for ambulances. It is evident, the people who conceptualised the programme are equipped with their own blue swivel lights to respond rapidly to their personal situations, some of which have been made quite clear recently. I also humbly suggest the district medical officer launch their own RRU to avoid keeping bodies on the nation’s roadways for hours, causing unnecessary chaos. 

However, what would be ideal is that the criminal justice system of this nation launches a RRU to deal with the cases which take forever, thereby denying citizens any form of real redress.

Rudy Chato Paul, Sr