ACTING Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has spoken out and has made it "crystal clear" policing should remain only within the Police Service.
As such, in Williams's view, the power of arrest should not be granted to members of the Regiment as is being proposed in the Defence Force Amendment Act.
This claim was made yesterday by president of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association, Sgt Anand Ramesar, following a meeting between Williams and members of the association at the Police Administrative Building, Sackville Street, Port of Spain..
Attempts to reach Williams to confirm his position were futile yesterday
However, Ramesar said the association was still not fully satisfied with Williams's stance on the issue as it was not sufficient for him to only make the statement from a "general or a blanket position".
"He needs to go a little further for him to really reassure this membership that he understands how this is really affecting our morale, how this is going to affect the paradigm in which we exist.
"He must also understand clearly how it is going to change the Police Service that he currently heads and whether or not he is prepared to treat with the repercussions," Ramesar told the media following the meeting.
Over the past week, the association had been calling on Williams to make clear his views on the bill.
"We know that he can't take the bill away from Parliament and we know that he is sensitive to what is happening to the membership of this organisation, and we expect that as the leader that he aligns himself with our welfare," said Ramesar.
He said the association was of the view that should there be another organisation exercising similar powers of arrest as police officers, it would create a high level of dysfunctionality within the Police Service.
Ramesar said with the proposed legislation, there were several concerns, one of which was who would be exercising authority over persons who are detained. He questioned that if a member of the Regiment should make an arrest could the police then demand that the detainee be handed over to them.
"Clearly, there is going to be an issue of authority should it be the unfortunate circumstance that they come aboard," said Ramesar.
Ramesar said the association had a mandate to make it clear that the members were not in support of the bill and had fears and concerns should it be made law.
"We are fearful for the organisation and we know for a fact that there is going to be problems in the Police Service and we feel that in the long-term this bill will destroy this organisation known as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and we have a mandate to try to avert that as best as we can.
"Should the bill take its process, that is a legal process but the association can only do what it can within the perimeter of the law," said Ramesar.