Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) has received a welcomed softening of its public image. Last week, its hard-nosed, down-to-earth looking Acting Police Commissioner Mc Donald Jacob made a game-changing breakthrough by announcing the appointment of female officers to head all the various units to be housed at the newly opened St Clair Police Station in northern Porto Spain.
In this connection, a story by Anna Ramdass in the Trinidad Express dated July 10, 2022 and titled Women ‘heroes’ in the frontline at St Clair
noted that “A team of policewomen will be leading the St Clair Police Station and its departments, which include the Victim and Witness Support Unit and the Special Victims Department”.
She quoted Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob as saying the St Clair Police Station will be led and managed by “newly minted” Woman Insp Renee Bain Keller, who recently was in charge of the Belmont Police Station.
He said Keller is expected to maintain the high standard and innovativeness she exhibited at that station.
T+T Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was singing from the same hymn book as Jacob when he spoke about building trust in police. In this regard, he sent out this message to the nation’s law enforcers:
“We will not be able to jail ourselves out of this or shoot ourselves out of this or kill ourselves out of this, because those are not actions that are for correction or for guidance. That is when you come to the end of the line,” he said.
Rowley said it is not sufficient to come every two months and “wail and whimper” over someone who was killed. He said the country needs to get to the root of this problem, and it starts in the schools and an appreciation of respecting other people’s space and rights.
He said it starts with ” assuming responsibility for your own behaviour and not making excuses for people whose behaviour is destructive and that applies to people in the Police Service, too.”
The prime minister said there is an extra responsibility to those who wear a uniform, so that when issues arise you can have the trust of the population that the circumstances must have warranted it.
Top cop Jacob said that over the past few years, the police station, which he noted is housed in the diplomatic epicentre of the country, faced challenges to ensure police officers are given the necessary and appropriate tools of trade and afforded a work environment conducive to productivity, professionalism and pleasantness.
“Though transformation does not necessarily come from the improvements of the physical infrastructure of an organisation, but more so one’s attitude and mind-set, it is an integral factor in reshaping the way in which police officers view themselves and how they perceive their leaders,” he said.
The St Clair Police Station accommodates a suite of services such as the Victim and Witness Support Unit, and the Special Victims Department which incorporates the Sexual Offences Unit, the Gender-Based Violence Unit and Child Protection Unit.
The commissioner noted the various heads of key departments were head of the Victim and Witness Support Unit/Social Work Unit Aisha Price-Corbie; and Shireen Pollard, manager of the Gender-Based Violence Unit.
He said Woman Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne is in charge of the Special Victims Unit. Jacob said they are supervised by Woman ACP (Ag) Criminal Division Sharon Cooper. The commissioner disclosed that Cooper and Guy-Alleyne are at present in Jamaica, where they are attending a five-day gender-based violence regional programme.
Jacob also spoke of the police engaging in social support in communities.
He said that for 2022 thus far, St Clair police, in support of community partnerships and public safety, donated monies to the SEA pupils at the Boissiere RC School for exam supplies; assisted a family with donations after their home was gutted by fire which claimed the lives of three children; participated with several stakeholders in the Hike and Plant Tree initiative at Lady Chancellor, St Ann’s, and restored the beauty of the environment.
Jacob said the station, by way of its Police Youth Club, continues with its proactive measures, crime-prevention ventures such as its ongoing homework centre which is geared towards assisting young people in need of supervision.
The club, he said, also conducted a diabetic/eye screening outreach programme and clothing drive to assist residents.
While many others have turned their strong entrepreneurial spirits into an industry
WE HAVE OUR VERY OWN;
Shops and parlors
Day Care Nurseries
Vegetable & Fruit stalls
AND THE LIST GOES ON………….
The posters asserted.
Youths clean up Beetham drains …
With the focus now being placed on female leadership in the St Clair Police Station therefore, it stands to reason that this country can only move positively forward in its resolve to fix the Crime problem which is essentially the core issue afflicting a small minority of our nation’s marginalised youths.