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‘Reducing murders police’s top priority’

By JULIEN NEAVES Saturday, January 18 2014

ACTING Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams says the Police Service has set as its “priority target” the reduction of murders, as he begins another six month extension in, “one of the most difficult”, public offices.

“We have clearly recognised that unless there is a major drop in murders in Trinidad and Tobago to many persons nothing else the police service does will matter,” he said. He noted in 2013 the service achieved the lowest annual figure in serious crimes in the last 29 years, 13,145, but “that will not be seen at all by the citizens once we are confronted with the challenge of murders”.

Williams was speaking to Newsday yesterday on receiving his third extension on appointment as Acting Commissioner on Thursday by the Police Service Commission (PSC).

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity given to me by the Police Service Commission to continue to lead the Police Service. We have done very good work in 2013 and we have plans to further improve the policing of Trinidad and Tobago in 2014,” he said.

The PSC in the statement announcing the extension noted that Williams had achieved a 30 per cent reduction in violent crimes, 26 per cent reduction in serious crimes and a 23 per cent reduction in fatal accidents, and had also promised to improve on his tardiness in delivering timely reports to the Commission for which he was reprimanded at a meeting last week.

Yesterday Williams noted that policing is a “complex and difficult profession” and “one of the most difficult positions to hold in the country by way of public office is that of sitting in the seat of Police Commissioner”.

He added: “I will continue to work extremely hard together with the entire Police Service as we pursue the targeting of the most challenging issue that has confronted the country over these many years — that of murders.”

The murder toll for the year so far is 31 according to a Newsday count. Williams noted that the year “has not started very well” in the context of reduction of murders and there was a spike in the first seven days.

“But we are at this point in time partnering with all the other agencies within National Security including the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force to ensure that we can present some clear, deliberate action (to prevent) any further spike in the murders,” he said.

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