Cops: Have a little patience
Jensen LaVende email@example.com
THE fruits of the police’ hard labour would soon be revealed with the arrest and subsequent charging of gang leaders and members, two top lawmen said yesterday.
Speaking at the police weekly news briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson asked the media, and by extension the public, to have a little patience.
On Sunday, some 89 men were arrested following six murders in and around the Port of Spain police district. One day later more than half were released without charges. Additionally 12 men held last Thursday were also freed after being interviewed by the Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit (CGIU).
“What we have is a work in progress. The fruit is in season, it is not ready to be picked. Wait Dorothy wait,” Richardson said when asked why none of the alleged gangsters who were arrested last week after being held for the same offences in 2011 were back out on the streets without charges being laid.
“Soon, very soon you would see the fruits of that hard labour,” he promised.
When asked if any of the men who were arrested last week and subsequently released would be charged under the anti-gang law, acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, who was at the news briefing, said police would be using all legislation to deal with crime. He added that the officers of the CGIU have been working alongside the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in charging people as the anti-gang legislation is new law.
Asked to comment on Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s statement on Tuesday that the arrests of some of the same men in 2011 during the state of emergency and last week and their release in both instances without any charges was “blind policing”, Williams said he would not comment.
“Politicians conveniently make statements as to situations in the country based on where they are sitting at any given point in time. So I would not comment on the statement made by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition,” Williams said.
Williams said the police would be working closely with the DPP before charges are laid so as not to repeat the mistakes made in 2001.
“We would not be seeking to charge without the guidance of the DPP when we are addressing offences under the Anti-Gang Act. The whole purpose for that is that the DPP has the authority to override our decision and basically stop the proceedings in court. It doesn’t make good sense to operate on our own but to operate in partnership with the DPP,” he said.
All who were released were released because the police were not satisfied that they had enough evidence to prosecute, Williams said, adding that because they were released did not mean there was no evidence. There was not sufficient evidence to charge them, he stressed.