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Security blanket for Carnival

By NALINEE SEELAL Monday, February 4 2013

click on pic to zoom in
Powder posse: Patrons party hard after dousing themselves with powder at the RAMA fete, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain on Saturday night. ...
Powder posse: Patrons party hard after dousing themselves with powder at the RAMA fete, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain on Saturday night. ...

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams is assuring citizens and visitors that thousands of officers will be out in full force from this weekend until Ash Wednesday to ensure law and order prevails for Carnival.

Without disclosing what they are, Williams yesterday said special anti-crime initiatives are being put in place, but noted that measures used during the Christmas season, such as increased patrols, will also be implemented to create a security blanket during the revelry.

“We want to give the assurance that Trinidad and Tobago will be extremely safe for the Carnival period. We have increased our police presence and visibility at all Carnival events and across the country, and all areas which had concerns with respect to crime,” he told Newsday. “It is all geared towards ensuring that we reduce crime around the Carnival period and provide a safer environment for citizens and visitors alike.”

Williams has again strongly advised persons not to wear large pieces of jewelry and carry wads of cash at Carnival events, because it makes them easy targets for criminals.

He cautioned visitors to move about in groups or in the company of locals and to avoid going into “hot spot” crime areas. He said visitors should seek information about places before visiting them.

“I am focusing on safety and I am calling on members of the public to also assist the police as we embark on this partnership to ensure that Carnival is crime free,” said Williams.

He also appealed to the public to avoid going about with items that could be used as weapons, noting concerns about broken bottles being used to injure persons.

“A broken bottle is just one item, but it would extend to firearms, knives, ice picks, anything used to injure persons, but I am asking persons to desist from arming themselves with weapons, to enjoy the Carnival, and it is the responsibility of the police to provide the necessary and security measures to protect the public, and we will so do,” he said. Once again, officers normally assigned to desk duties will be sent out on patrols this week, on the Carnival days and even on Ash Wednesday at the many cool down fetes.

He said officers will also be out on the beaches, rivers and picnic spots.

Patrols would also be in place in residential communities to protect homes and properties while their owners take part in the festivities. “We plan for the worst case scenarios,” he said.

Newsday understands officers of the Mounted and K-9 Branch will also form part of the manpower for Carnival. Officers have begun training the dogs and horses to deal with crowd control so they can be used in patrols without being frightened.

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