TALKING TOUGH: Gary Griffith

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IT’S WAR

Murder toll hits 373 as Moruga mom gunned down; Minister Griffith clamps down on crime:

By by irene medina Associate Editor

National Security Minister Gary Griffith said yesterday only “cowards” run scared in the face of battle.

And he is not afraid of any battle against cowardly criminals.

The battle he was referring to is the escalating crime situation resulting in some 373 murders for the year thus far.

“The first principle of going into war is confidence,” he said.

Griffith, a former army captain, told the Sunday Express, “You never go into a battle as a coward or being daunted.

“The enemy in this situation are the cowards. They prey on victims who are on most occasions defenceless. I am fully confident that the upcoming law enforcement initiatives would peg them back, provide the deterrent and if not, they would be brought to justice. This would be my New Year resolution to the country,” he told the Sunday Express, adding: “Failure is not an option.”

He made it clear to criminals, that they will not win, even in the face of heightened illegal activities over the past few weeks.

“You do not  go into any battle second guessing yourself, one of the principles of war is that you are confident you are going to win.”

Griffith took office three months ago promising to weed out the criminals and gangsters. 

He has previously compared criminals to cockroaches that must be sprayed, weeded out and crushed.

He said he was certain that the measures which he and his law enforcement team will be implementing will bring stability to the country.

Among them are increased highway patrols and a Rapid Response Unit which will be working closely with the National Security Operations Centre (NSOC), Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking installed on every police vehicle, to ensure not just location of the vehicles but deployment to potential crime scene areas,

“I am bringing accountability and measuring performance...this is very important to ensure that vehicles are doing all that is required. We can ensure that vehicles can report to scene  when incidents arise and apprehend the criminals,” he said.

Within the next three weeks Griffith will be setting up as a major crime fighting initiative VIPO (Virtual Police Officers) which in essence means that every law abiding citizen will be turned into a virtual police officer.

“In this way you can go on a secure website and report a crime which may be about to be committed or has been committed.” 

He said he would be personally held responsible to ensure the confidentiality of the informants remained secure. 

In this way, he said there was no fear of reprisals against the “virtual police officers”.

“VIPO will fall directly under me so that people will feel safe to report information that can be turned into evidence.”

He also warned that rogue elements in the Police Service will be enjoying their last days. 

Those who feed information to gangsters and are on their payroll will face the brunt of the law, Griffith warned. 

“We are putting special mechanisms to weed out rogue elements in the Police Service and give citizens responsibility to become virtual officers on cyberspace. It is no secret that there are police officers on the payroll of gang members, and once we find the evidence to remove them, they will be removed.

“I don’t want to transfer the problem. They don’t belong in police stations, perhaps the only place they belong is behind bars in the stations.”

He said he was prepared to shift angles to provide better results.

Results that not even the once elite Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) could provide.

He said while the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) would suitably do the job since it was mainly involved in interception, the VIPO initiative would be the police’s eyes and ears on the ground and would work smoothly with community police officers, another of his several initiatives to be introduced.

The National Security Minister also intends to foster tighter relationships with Bill Bratton who was recently reappointed police commissioner in New York, USA and with whom he intends to meet soon.

Griffith reassures that his crime talk initiatives will bear fruit in about three months’ time. 

Griffith does not share a recent prediction by acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams that the murder rate could reach 400 by the end of the year. 

“My job is not to predict...it is to ensure a reduction in criminal activity and fear of crime. It is about eliminating and providing mechanisms to reduce crime. I am not going to make any prediction.

“I have already stated that I am going to do everything in my power to ensure border security and to ensure that funding to gangs through the award of State contracts is stopped,” he said.

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