ACTING Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams acknowledged yesterday that the public's confidence in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service had waned over the years but stated that the only way the relationship could be repaired was if they worked closer together with the citizenry.
Speaking to the Express via telephone yesterday afternoon, Ag CoP Williams also lashed out at his detractors who criticised the amount of money spent by the National Security Ministry recently (approximately $4.5 million) to host a job fair and family day for Laventille residents.
Ag CoP Williams explained that from a policing perspective, "Laventille and those communities are responsible for the spate of violent crime statistics in Trinidad and Tobago so in those circumstances it is an imperative that we treat Laventille differently."
Williams added, "We have recognised that policing is not solely about enforcement because we see the issue of prevention as great or even greater than enforcement because every crime prevented is a major saving to this country and when you are speaking about the criminal justice system you have to take the approach that anytime you arrest someone it's a drain on our resources."
Williams continued, "So if you prevent crime you save the State. So therefore you invest $100 in prevention and you save $1,000 from the side of enforcement so prevention gives you a far greater profit to the country instead of us just being reactionary, so our aim is to go out there to engage the community with some level of innovation."
Williams continued, "We cannot go forward with performance without improving the relationship we have with the public because we do get licks all the time with the statistics relating to our crime solve rate as people continuously ask how many crimes were solved and convictions recorded but in order for us to address that problem we are relying on the cooperation of people."
He continued, "We recognise that the organisation has historically distanced itself from the people and to reverse that we have been pursuing a strategy built around improved community relations. We are out in the field interacting one-to-one basis with all people sharing our goals and objectives and providing quality service and getting feedback from the public as to what kind of improved service they require."
Williams added, "Our activities over the recent period namely our police community caravan meetings will seek out the public to help bridge the gap. Right now our Police Youth Clubs are on an expansion drive and it is about meeting with the community, its people, the teachers and parents, and especially young people."
He added, "Because I have heard people speaking that what the Service is doing is not policing because people are seeing policing in one traditional way but now we are using contemporary approaches to address policing in Trinidad and Tobago because unless we do things differently we won't be able to get different results."