Municipal police in the capital city of Port of Spain unveiled a safe city campaign on Saturday on the heels of recent murders and daring daylight shootings on busy shopping streets over the last few days.
During the patrol, officers visited stores and talked to the workers on their security plans and offered them the opportunity to give suggestions on what would make them feel safer at work
One worker of Moses Shoe Collection on Frederick Street told Supt Glen Charles, the head of the Municipal Police that she wants to see more of the initiative throughout the country.
“It’s all over the country so you have got to do a little bit better. I hope we see a lot more of you all and a lot better.”
Charles said the Public Engagement and Welfare Unit which was launched last December was doing more to connect with the people they serve.
In response to the worker’s complaint, Charles told her she and other workers will see them more.
“We will take note of your concerns and we will try to improve,” Charles said.
Before the anti-crime patrol, Charles told the media, “We want to encourage the public that Port of Spain is still safe, notwithstanding the little incident that took place, we the police officers are counted on to serve the burgesses and the citizenry of Port of Spain. We will be going out there and we will create a visible police presence. We will be engaging with the members of public and reassuring them that Port of Spain is still a safe city and the police officers are still in charge.”
On Saturday, a man was shot dead on Henry Street and he died near Church’s Chicken on Independence Square. On Friday, another man was shot dead on a busy shopping street at the corner of George and Henry Streets in a drive-by in which another man was critically injured. There have been numbers other shootings and another murder recently on Broadway where a vendor was shot in the head.
Councillor for Woobrook and chairman of the city council’s security committee June Durham said, “This has been a fight and it is not easy in comparison to the amount of people we have in the city and the amount of police we have; we don’t have enough. But we are going to try and on behalf of all of us here, I send my condolences to the families of the deceased.”
WPC Nelle-Ann Skeete, who led the patrol, said the engagement with the people they serve was important.
“We want people to know that the city police are a separate entity to the TTPS, but perform the same duties. We are here to educate people as well.”
Charles said, “What we saw is that some where it had a barrier between the police and the public. The public is our customers, those are the people that we serve and when we did a small survey and got the feedback, we saw that they lost trust, confidence and were reluctant to report crimes. Police officers cannot be out there 24/7 so we rely on the public to be our eyes and ears to give us the information and that forms an alliance.”
“We have been getting results so, we have all intentions of increasing the department. We plan to go out there and build back that trust and confidence and we will use this unit as a tool in order to engage the public and get back that confidence and trust.”
PC Jamal Bennett public relations officer said the unit has been visiting schools in the Port of Spain district and has been getting feedback which allows them to help at-risk students get into various programmes to try and decrease violence in schools.
“We have a lot of programmes that will be starting in September and a lot of community engagement efforts where we will be going out to the communities and meeting members to gather information on what we as police officers can do better to increase that collaborative effort. We can’t do it alone, we need members of the public on our side, so, if you see something, say something.”