The cost to maintain a 24-hour presence in crime hotspot of Enterprise, Chaguanas can cost of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) in excess of $2 million a year.
Operation Enterprise was launched by the Minister of National Security, Edmund Dillon on March 28 due to the upsurge in murders and violent crime in the area.
The initiative is a joint collaboration with the TTPS and the T&T Regiment to stamp out violence among warring gangs.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian following the TTPS’ weekly media briefing yesterday, head of Operation Enterprise, ASP Richard Smith said that at an average a monthly cost, which includes overtime costs, meals and other allowances for police officers, who work on a 24-hour on and off shift, was about $200,000.
Smith said that although he thinks that the TTPS can sustain the initiative, it is not possible to deploy the amount of personnel in all parts of T&T.
“Operation Enterprise took a lot of resources to police that area to bring it to a sense of normalcy. We really deploy our personnel as the need arises,” Smith said.
Asked the successfulness of the initiative so far, the TTPS’ Public Information Officer, Michael Pierre said that since they have made several arrests of people belonging to both gangs, including those in high-ranking positions, they have seen a form of relief.
“We are continuing to keeping on the pressure that we have in the area to ensure that it remains this way,” Pierre said.
In giving statistics, Smith said that in 2016 Central Division recorded a total of 79 homicides, with 18 occurring in the Enterprise district.
From January 1 to March 2017, Smith said that given the upsurge in violence there were 10 murders reported.
“The objective of Operation Enterprise is to increase the joint army and police patrols in the area; conduct raids, searches and roadblocks in the known drug blocks throughout the area; target priority offenders and people on outstanding warrants; partner with the community via the community policing approach by engaging in town meetings, door-to-door visits, school visits and walkabouts; increasing firearms and narcotics detection and restoring a sense of peace and comfort to the residents,” Smith said.
Last week, head of the Islamic Front, Umar Abdullah suggested that as part of the initiative there should be a gun amnesty, however, in response, Pierre said that a gun amnesty was not an option at this time but placed emphasis on the TTPS’ continued efforts to intensify its seizure and recovery of firearms.
He also added that there was a lot of collaborative effort being put into their investigations with respect to all aspects of gang activity, including in the recovery of firearms. He, however, added that people finding firearms and bringing them in will also be welcomed.
SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Rhondor Dowlat)