ACTING Police Commissioner Stephen Williams yesterday described the issue of violent crime as “challenging, complex and defying”.
Williams, who last year led the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) in recording its lowest total of serious crimes for a calendar year in nearly three decades, has been facing an uphill battle when it comes to addressing the murder toll.
Nineteen murders have already been recorded in seven days in 2014.
The murder toll for 2013 was 407, as compared to 361 in 2012.
According to statistics from the TTPS, however, there was a reduction in serious crimes by 5,000 over the same period.
Williams yesterday sought to assure citizens that the Police Service will do its best to ensure the 2014 murder toll will be less than last year.
“I can assure you that from a policing perspective we will be doing everything possible to slow down and even stop the number of homicides taking place in Trinidad and Tobago,” Williams said.
He made the comments during the launch of the Rapid Response Unit at Knowsley building in Port of Spain.
“The Rapid Response Unit is one facility which we will be utilising to ensure we make a difference around what is always the very complex and challenging issue of violent crime...as we move forward I want to give the citizens of this land the clear assurance that we will be maximising the use of the Rapid Response Unit and taking full advantage of all the added resources that has been assigned to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for us to make a clear difference by ensuring Trinidad and Tobago is a safe and secure place for all our citizens and visitors alike,” Williams said.
“As we go forward in 2014, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service wishes to give the public the assurance that it is clear intention to out-perform 2013 in context of the reduction in crime, with special consideration being focused on the challenging and defying issue of violent crimes.”
Williams said 77 vehicles will be dedicated to the Rapid Response Unit.
In the pilot project, 22 vehicles will be used in three policing divisions—Northern Division, North Eastern Division and Western Division.
“Those are three divisions within the East-West Corridor where there is a need because when you look at the murders and the shooting incidents, the dominant numbers are featured in the East-West Corridor,” Williams said.
He said while there has been much said about the murder detection rate, the figure for last year was better than in 2012.
He slammed detractors for not seeing the positive work being undertaken by the police.
“The biggest single challenge in this country is for some people, not all, to recognise in order for Trinidad and Tobago to go forward we all have to identify ways and means of contributing...if there is no crime, there is no crime, if there are a few crimes, there is a few crimes, people all the time engage in discussion around the negative. Why don’t we take the positive?”