Trinidad launch ‘virtual police officers’
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – National Security Minister Gary Griffith says the authorities will soon launch a major crime fighting initiative as they deal with an upsurge in criminal activities in Trinidad and Tobago.
So far this year, 373 people have been murdered and Griffith said that the Virtual Police Officers (VIPO) will when launched make every law abiding citizen a virtual police officer.
“In this way you can go on a secure website and report a crime which may be about to be committed or has been committed,” Griffith said, adding he would be personally held responsible to ensure the confidentiality of the informants remained secure.
“VIPO will fall directly under me so that people will feel safe to report information that can be turned into evidence,” he said, sending a message to rogue elements within the police.
“We are putting special mechanisms to weed out rogue elements in the Police Service and give citizens responsibility to become virtual officers on cyberspace. It is no secret that there are police officers on the payroll of gang members, and once we find the evidence to remove them, they will be removed.
“I don’t want to transfer the problem. They don’t belong in police stations, perhaps the only place they belong is behind bars in the stations.”
Griffith called ‘cowards’ those criminals who “prey on victims who are on most occasions defenceless.
“I am fully confident that the upcoming law enforcement initiatives would peg them back, provide the deterrent and if not, they would be brought to justice. This would be my New Year resolution to the country,” he said, adding “failure is not an option”.
He said he does not share the recent prediction by acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams that the murder rate could reach 400 by the end of the year.
“My job is not to predict…it is to ensure a reduction in criminal activity and fear of crime. It is about eliminating and providing mechanisms to reduce crime. I am not going to make any prediction.
“I have already stated that I am going to do everything in my power to ensure border security and to ensure that funding to gangs through the award of State contracts is stopped,” he said.