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Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.

The Police Commissioner has issued an official statement in response to current commentary in the public domain, about police officers, which he says is defamatory and has the impact of questioning the “credibility” of these officers.

The following is the full text of the statement, which was posted on the Police Service’s Facebook Page…

Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, has noted in recent days, an unfortunate upsurge on social media of misleading and damning allegations with no evidence, aimed at senior Police Officers, which question their credibility.

This is because of the ongoing assessment and the selection process for the post of Commissioner of Police, whereby it seems that certain individuals, including a few reporters, may have a preference or even a distaste for certain applicants, and are hence pushing stories and even showing to the public, the questions being asked, in an obvious attempt to assist certain applicants, or to discredit others.

The oldest trick in reporting is to ask questions, then make it known to the public, hence trying to persuade others that the questions asked can be factual, hence discrediting the individual regardless of what comment he/she makes.

Before it is perceived that I am trying to prevent freedom of speech, nothing is further from the truth, and anyone is free to print whatever they feel about me.

However, in my capacity of presently leading the Police Service, it is my duty to defend my officers if targeted unfairly. I have seen articles, accusations, and reports, with questions aimed to discredit other applicants and even those who did not apply. I kindly ask that we all take a deep breath, step back, and understand that this does not assist the Police Service by discrediting anyone because of your interest in the process of the appointment of the COP.

Certain damning allegations have been made on social media at certain senior officers, some of whom have applied, and others, who have not applied for the post, and I wish to state that there is not a shred of evidence to support such claims.

The selection process for the COP is not a political campaign, so character assassination of those you do not support is not part of the process, and unfortunately, some are treating it as such, which does nothing to build the morale of the TTPS, nor build public trust and confidence when senior officers are accused and targeted unfairly.

“Whereas in political campaigns, character assassinations can be the norm because after an election, politicians on either side of the fence do not have to work together. It is the opposite in this process for the appointment of a Police Commissioner. Smear campaigns to discredit one officer because of your preference for another, certainly does not help, as these same officers must work together to protect and serve the public. So unwarranted character assassination of senior officers, makes it difficult for the Police Service to work as a team, as there is going to be a day after the Police Commissioner is appointed, and whoever that it may be, such unfortunate comments do not help in building the image and productivity of the Police Service.”

Additionally, I ask all to be very cautious in their statements, as they border on making public statements of ongoing investigations, which can be perceived as attempting to influence the outcome of an investigation.