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Police audit coming

By NALINEE SEELAL Friday, June 20 2014

William (Bill) Bratton, New York Commissioner of Police is to be contracted through his private company The Bratton Group to do a complete audit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) in an effort to make the service more efficient.

The audit will see a complete overhaul of the TTPS and it will allow the authorities to ascertain where the shortcomings are in terms of manpower, mobility and other resources which are lacking at this time and hindering the programmes.

Yesterday, Minister of National Security Gary Griffith was in New York where he was expected to meet with Bratton to have discussions with him about the audit. Bratton has become known for his zero-tolerance policy, and has been credited with reducing petty and violent crime.

Bratton says his policing style is influenced by the “broken windows” theory that if minor, petty crime is not dealt with, crime will increase.

Griffith told Newsday that apart from the audit he is hoping to have all records computerised including crime statistics in all the divisions.

Griffith said apart from a meeting with Bratton, he is also scheduled to have meetings with former New York Mayor Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani to discuss with him strategies used by him in the fight against crime.

Giuliani was the New York Mayor between 1994 to 2001. In his first two years in office, his policies helped reduce serious crime by one-third and cut the city’s murder rate in half. Police shootings fell by 40 percent, and incidents of violence in city jails, once a seemingly insurmountable problem, virtually disappeared by the end of his first term, dropping by 95 percent.

Giuliani’s highly successful “welfare-to-work” initiative helped more than 600,000 New Yorkers land employment and achieve self-sufficiency. Griffith is of the view that Giuliani’s anti-crime indicatives proved successful and brought crime down in the state of New York.

Griffith also wants to have the TTPS twinned with the New York Police Department (NYPD). This will see officers from the TTPS going across to New York to be exposed to crime fighting techniques over there with firsthand encounters with crime fighting on the streets while officers of the NYPD will come to Trinidad and Tobago to share their knowledge on crime fighting with local officials.

“I want to reiterate that no government minister should come up with anti-crime plans, but rather get policies and this is what I am hoping to achieve with this audit, the computerisation of the records and a complete overhaul of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service,” Griffith said, He also noted that this will be the first time that an audit of such a kind will be done, and he is asking for the full corporation of the Police Service as they embark on a new thrust to make the service more efficient and to cater to the needs of the public. The minister noted that serious crime is on the decrease despite public perception, but every effort is being made to deal with gang violence and gang murders.

The Police Welfare Association welcomes the audit saying it is “long overdue.”

The Police Service is supposed to have a maximum strength of 6,000 police officers, but they have been operating on half that much as officers have been granted early retirement, sick leave, study leave and other types of leave. Additionally many of the weapons used by officers are outdated and need to be replaced with state of the art weapons.

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