PORT OF SPAIN –– Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams said that murders in this country had nothing to do with the police, but was a social issue which was not being properly addressed.
Williams made the remark at the graduation ceremony for 131 police officers at Hyatt Regency hotel, in Port of Spain yesterday. Williams said the Police Service were being asked to stop the killings, but officers could not do that.
“Brothers are killing brothers, neighbours are killing neighbours, friends killing friends, and all of that has nothing to do with the police; it has to do with the society which we police. We need the citizens of this beloved nation to come together and have consultation and to do better, before all of this can change. But saying all that will mean nothing to the people out there; what they want to hear is how the police service can solve the number of killings,” Williams admitted.
He added that the murder rate was below last year’s comparable toll up until last week. Williams said that the other areas where crime has been reduced was being overshadowed by the murder rate. He told the graduates that their time for mistakes was at the barracks; but in the field, mistakes are not acceptable, especially if they result in a breach of the law.
He said the polishing of a shoe could be compromised, but not the integrity of a police officer; for that there was “no tolerance”.
Also addressing the graduates was Williams’ wife –– senior magistrate Avason Quinlan-Williams.
Quinlan-Williams encouraged the officers to be fair as she read seven newspaper clippings of police officers who had been arrested and charged with misconduct.
She encouraged them to be fair to suspects, victims and the public.
The magistrate told them that being a police officer did not exempt them from criminal prosecution, traffic laws, police tribunals and the Professional Standards Bureau, a unit of the Police Service which investigates allegations of serious misconduct.
Minister of National Security Retired Major General Edmund Dillon met today with the heads of divisions in his ministry for the first time in an effort to deal with the country’s rampant murder rate.
In an interview last night Dillon said the meeting was the first step in his planned review of the security architecture.
“I am hoping to have dialogue with all the heads of department to get an idea of exactly what is happening in their divisions,” Dillon said.
“I need to know how things are being run in order to begin my review of the security architecture.”
Dillon said tomorrow he intended to meet with the chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Kenrick Maharaj, and Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams.
“Tuesday’s meeting will be an operational meeting with both the CDS and the COP.”