‘’We are sorry.”
This was the message sent yesterday by vice-president of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association, Insp Roger Alexander, during an interview on TV6’s Morning Edition yesterday in response to a video showing a uniformed police woman and a policeman in plain clothes abusing a man in a wheelchair.
Alexander said he was speaking on behalf of the thousands of police officers in this country, as co-host for Beyond the Tape and also “Roger Alexander the citizen and the human being: first of all…we are sorry”.
“I must apologise I want to apologise to that man, his family, the people of T&T, to all viewers who would have seen this tape worldwide. This is not the picture that we in the T&T Police Service want to paint, nor is a true picture of the TTPS or its vision,” Alexander said.
The police inspector, who also supervises the North Eastern Division Task Force, said instances like the one depicted in the video go against the various initiatives of the TTPS to continue to build trust with the public.
“When you see things like this it really rifles into the heart of our initiatives as a police officer, as a police team, as an organisation, and it speaks on the restoration of trust and confidence that we (the TTPS) are trying to build through various initiatives we have, including the one I have on an evening on TV6.
“But at the end of the day, no matter what we do or how we do it, I think the public needs to recognise and understand that you will always find persons among us, who, while we trying to build the organisation and lift the organisation, there are persons who are simply trying to break it down,” Alexander said.
When asked if officers in the TTPS were trained to handle stressful situations or situations where they are provoked, the police inspector said yes, but he noted that the two officers involved in the tape were Special Reserve Police (SRP) officers and would have undergone different training than the officers they assist.
“The SRPs are our support unit, generally a good bunch, a hard working team, which supplements the TTPS on a daily basis. Now, their training is somewhat different to what we do. We would go through 12-18 months of training. Sometimes SRPs go through about six weeks of training and they are police officers. So sometimes training is not as intense or in-depth as a regular police. But as far as public concerned, police is police, and I understand that,” Alexander said.
And while he noted that he had received information that the disabled man had been cursing the two officers, he said this did not prevent them from being more humane in their response.