\\\\\ PORT OF SPAIN
As the country celebrates its 52nd year of Independence, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams asked that citizens continue to partner with the Police Service as they continue towards their strategic mission of making “every place in Trinidad and Tobago safe” by 2016.
The appeal was made yesterday by Williams during his address at the T&T Police Service’s Independence cocktail reception at the Police Service administration building on Edward Street, Port of Spain.
In attendance were President Anthony Carmona, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, president of the Senate Timothy Hamel-Smith, Chief of Defence Staff Major General Kenrick Maharaj, permanent secretary at the Ministry of National Security Carl Francis, chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Prof Ramesh Deosaran and other dignitaries.
“Policing is based on the principle that citizens are responsible for the maintenance of law and order in society,” said Williams. “Sir Robert Peel underscored this principle in 1829, which basically says that the police are the public and the public are police. So we citizens must work hand in hand with the police to improve safety and security of our land.
“The TTPS, the body charged with the lead role of policing in our country, has set itself a new vision over our strategic mission for the period 2014-2016, and this is to make every place in T&T safe. In furtherance of this vision, we have at the heart of our mission partnership with citizens and this partnership will be achieved through enhanced community engagement with the aim of promoting collective efficacy,” Williams added.
To this end, the commissioner revealed that the Police Service and its leadership have been visiting communities on a regular basis with the intent of engaging directly with citizens throughout the country.
He said this method gave the Service the means to interact and get direct feedback about what citizens expect from the TTPS.
However, he noted, he was surprised to learn that, to date, the major complaint from citizens was about their quality of life being disturbed at nights by loud music.
“While we place priority in preventing serious crime, the citizens highlighted at all community meetings that the greatest concern is about quality-of-life issues, especially about the control of loud music in residential areas. It was quite shocking to us because we thought the view would have been most likely about serious crimes.
“Citizens in these meetings, in turn, have acknowledged that they have seen the visibility of officers increase and that there has been a serious crime reduction, something we appreciate, but sleeping comfortable is what they believe they are being denied of right now,” Williams said.
The commissioner also thanked Deosaran, whose resignation from the PSC takes effect today, for his kind words earlier in the function and for all the support he has given the TTPS over the years.
Deosaran, in a brief speech during the function, told the audience that while they may not realise it based on their public interactions, he considered Williams a friend and a true patriot, noting that he had one of the most brilliant minds in the Police Service.