There is a war against crime in this country and the police must use force to protect themselves and innocent citizens, says National Security Minister Gary Griffith.
In response to questions by the Express on the police killings of two teenagers yesterday, Griffith said he cannot make any judgments on whether the police were abusing their power but he stands with the law enforcement in their efforts to clamp down on crime.
“I am not in any way condoning the abuse of the authority by the police but whilst investigations are still ongoing on those matters, I think it will be inappropriate to state that the police are abusing their power. They are in a war and they need to protect themselves and protect us,” said Griffith. Questioned on the number of young persons being shot dead by police, Griffith said some of these persons were involved in gangs.
Griffith said: “They are being influenced by major gang leaders and these gang leaders, they are the ultimate enemies of the State.
“They are using young men who then become the casualty of the law whilst the notorious gang leaders who are the real big fish remain unscathed, which is why I ask that no community, no citizen should try to protect these criminals.
“They are not Robin Hoods, they are cold blooded killers who are using youths in their crimes.”
The minister said it was “very interesting” that when criminals kill an innocent person in cold blood, no one sees or hears anything but when a police officer kills someone, there are many witnesses who come forward with claims that the person was unarmed and the policeman abused his authority.
“We have to remember there is a war going on right now. Police officers are our first line of defence and our first line of attack and they are to protect the law abiding citizens of this country. If there is a war, it is unfortunate, but there will be casualties,” said Griffith.
“There are many casualties where innocent people are being murdered by cold-blooded killers,” he added.
Griffith said unless there is confirmed evidence that police have abused their authority, the fact remains that police have killed persons who were involved in criminal activities.
“We all need to remember is one of the ultimates is for police officers to use the relevant use of force if their life is at risk or the lives of citizens,” said Griffith.
“The shooting of a police officer today in Maraval is a reminder in our country that the police are out there putting their lives on the line daily and I stand firmly behind them that as it pertains to criminal elements, they need to do it to them, before they do it to us,” said Griffith.