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Residents ‘bash’ police at St James town meeting

By Gyasi Gonzales

THE residents of St James told the Police Service last Tuesday evening that if policing and patrols were as efficient as was the wrecking of cars in St James, Woodbrook and Port of Spain then Trinidad and Tobago would be a very safe place.
The St James Police were bombarded with a barrage of complaints that night during a Police town meeting at the community’s amphitheatre, Western Main Road.
Complaint followed complaint, from police inaction when called, to an attitude of indifference. The residents in their relatively large numbers all had something negative to say about the state of policing in their neighbourhood.
One man painfully explained his experiences with calling the police as he had an alleged bandit in his sight and still, “No action from those officers...none.”
He said he and his friends had been monitoring a particular group of individuals who were driving around in a white Nissan B-13 Sentra. He lamented he was not equipped or armed to deal with the situation himself.
He said he saw when the men were dropped off, witnessed them jumping over walls into the yards of his neighbours and when he called the police they told him they had no vehicles.
Another woman said her landlady showed her video surveillance footage of a man outside her bedroom window. She said the video was captured at 4 a.m. on that particular morning and with the prowler in sight the landlady called the St James Police, “but they eh reach yet”, lamented the woman.
Former Trinidad Express general manager, Robert Moore, said he looked on for an hour as a man rummaged through the tray of his van that was parked on Taylor Street in Woodbrook. Moore said when he challenged the man, he threatened to kill him.
“Five times I call the E999, five times! And the piper even start to pelt bottle so I called the Woodbrook Police Station and the St James Police Station and there was no response,” he said.
The officers representing the Police Service for the St James area calmly and patiently received all the criticism levelled against them.
Insp Moore the main responder apologised on behalf of his charges citing they may not always have a vehicle available to respond to emergency calls because they were being used for patrols.
His response however brought jeers and boos from the residents who chided the police for always asking for and receiving all sorts of equipment but leave the public with the often-used excuse of no vehicles being available.
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