Police rewarded for firearm seizures

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Two guns, ammunition and narcotics seized by police. – PHOTO COURTESY TTPS

Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds said people take the police for granted but when something happens, they want the police there to protect them.

Hinds was speaking at a ceremony for police and defence force personnel at the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in Aranguez on Saturday where 27 officers received awards for outstanding work. These included constables Dominic Mohammed and Chevron Rodriguez for the most firearms recovered in 2021, and constable Keston King for most charge cases for the year.

“(What you do) goes well beyond money. It is a sacred duty that we swear to by Almighty God and we work incessantly, dealing with the situation as it affects TT.”

Acting DCP Erla Christopher said from January 1 to December 23, members of the IATF did 11,480 mobile patrols, 9,174 foot patrols, and 5,378 static patrols. They searched 34,719 people, 20,409 vehicles, conducted 589 exercises and 2,407 roadblocks. They seized 36 firearms, 683 rounds of ammunition, 72.3 kg of marijuana, and 264 g of cocaine. They arrested 354 people, issued 202 tickets for not wearing masks, targeted and searched 255 priority offenders, arrested and charged 78 priority offenders, arrested 52 people on warrants, executed 184 search warrants, and recovered 35 stolen vehicles.

Acting Chief of Defence Staff Dexter Francis expressed his belief that the IATF–soldiers, sailors and airmen working with the TTPS– could make a dent in the fight against crime in TT.

He commended their work and expressed the hope that the team will be able to double or triple their efforts in the future.

Acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob told the officers that in addition to helping people feel secure by their presence, they needed to be observant, take notes, secure and preserve crime scenes, and do whatever necessary to support homicide investigators in order to bring offenders before the court.

“I try to emphasise to the troops that even though your main function is crime prevention, there’s another side. And the other side is the detection of the crime and bringing persons before the court. And I want to emphasise that is a core part of crime prevention.”

He described the IATF’s Hearts and Minds programme, which engages with communities, as one of the greatest successes of the IATF, and expressed his desire to take the concept to more high-crime areas.