Northern Division cop: Cameras alone not enough in crime fight

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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Senior police in the Northern Division have said CCTV cameras in the Heights of Aripo and other areas are valuable resources in deterring criminal activities, but they are only one tool and must be supported by police activities.

Responding to concerns from the public at a town hall meeting at the Arima Community Centre, on Tuesday night, Snr Supt Christopher Pamponette said patrols were still a valuable part of policing.

During the meeting one resident of the Heights of Aripo said he was pleased with plans to instal cameras, but a physical police presence through stop-and-search exercises would further deter criminal activities.

Last February the body of murdered Arima court clerk Andrea Bharatt was found in the Heights of Aripo.

Other human remains have also been found in the area, as criminals have used the area as a dumping ground.

Pamponette promised patrols would be increased to better secure the community.

“The CCTV is the eye when the police are not present, but we will appreciate that the cameras cannot arrest anyone. We will appreciate that the cameras are just one of the tools available to the police.

“In order for us to increase the level of confidence, trust and comfort, we will revisit our strategies as it relates to the patrols and ensure where there is no patrol that there will be some patrols.

“I don’t make idle guarantees. We will increase our patrols in that area to minimise or to deter people who are criminally-minded.”

Responding to a call for additional field interviews or stop-and-search exercises in certain areas, Pamponette said this was sometimes avoided to better monitor the behaviour and movements of people suspected to be involved in crime.

“When we talk about no field interviews, or no stop-and-search, that speaks to an issue where, through documentation, the police get to know the individual and get to know how frequently the individuals are in a given area, and with the use of analysis, we analyse the movements of the person and analyse the associates of the person.”

ACP in charge of the Northern Division Ramnarine Samaroo agreed patrols and other “targeted exercises” would be used to tighten security in different areas.