CITIZENS can feel confident in ongoing joint patrols with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) in districts and communities identified as hotspot areas. This from Trade, Industry, Investment and Communication Minister, Senator Vasant Bharath.
The statement comes following concerns expressed by the President of the Law Association, Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam over reports that members of the Defence Force were allegedly executing what appeared to be search and entry exercises into the private property of citizens.
Citing past instances of successful joint patrols, Minister Bharath assured that the collaboration has always been, and will continue to be based on a strict adherence to the law and to regulations governing the Police Service.
“We have a standing commitment to citizens that we will wage the strongest war on criminals and restore safety, and the feeling of safety, that people want, and part of our strategies has been to combine the resources of our Police and Defence officers. The safety, security and peace of mind of citizens are at the forefront of these efforts and the population can be assured that the initiative will not put any law abiding citizen or family at risk,” Minister Bharath said.
Noting that Chief of Defence Staff, Kenrick Maharaj, and acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams both stated that they work in partnership with their teams and forces, and they work as an inter-agency force, the Minister reminded that strong words of caution have also been issued by both officials on ensuring the actions of their officers are fully authorised.
“The Commissioner of Police and the Chief of Defence Staff have stated their support for all legal and approved operations and events involving the TTDF and the TTPS, and have cautioned members of both units that any individual or group of individuals found to be involved in any unauthorized activity will face the full brunt of the Laws of our country and the regulations that govern both units.”
Minister Bharath added: “The Chief of Defence Staff noted that it is not illegal for members of the TTDF to conduct patrols without a member of the TTPS being present, as the area of operation for the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment is the geographic confines of Trinidad and Tobago.”
“However, it is not the role or function of the TTDF to conduct road blocks, stop vehicles, ‘kick down doors’ or enter residences of persons without a police officer present, and especially without the a duly signed warrant.”
The Minister further assured: “The Chief of Defence Staff’s formation commanders and by extension soldiers, sailors and air crewmen are continuously cautioned that they are to act within the laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at all times and to do so with the safety and respect of the public utmost in their minds. The CDS and the CoP have given their commitment to continue working together and utilizing the strong bonds of joint operations to treat with and address all levels of criminality and threat to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.”