The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service held a special clinical session for its officers at the Police Academy today, during which several front line police officers had an opportunity to debrief on recent traumatic experiences while on duty.
An official statement issued by the TTPS reports that the session was hosted by the Police Commissioner, utilising the ‘I Support Our Services’ (ISOS) initiative.
Officers shared stories of being verbally and physically attacked by members of the public, with only their training and experience preventing them from acting out and retaliating in response.
Following is a full text of the statement released by the TTPS, on today’s clinical session…
FRONT LINE POLICE OFFICERS TELL OF PUBLIC ATTACKS
It came as no surprise today when front line police officers spoke openly of attacks by members of the public for merely doing their jobs.
Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, through the I Support Our Service (ISOS) initiative, hosted a clinical session at the Police Academy today for all those police officers who have been on the front line over the past eight months, and in particular, the last three weeks.
After the CoP delivered his opening address, the gathering were broken up into three groups—the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB), the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), and spouses/family members. It was during this session that the officers spoke of the attacks coming from the public.
They noted that in particular areas, they were verbally assaulted, cursed at, spat upon, shot at, threatened by ferocious dogs, and in some cases, physically attacked.
Some stated that in many cases, their training, experience, and composure prevented them from retaliation. In cases where they have come under gunfire and are forced to retaliate, these incidents have left them traumatized for a considerable period. A few noted four recent incidents:
● The murder of their colleague, PC Allen Moseley in Morvant on June 27th;
● The killing of three men in Morvant on June 27th;
● The fatal shooting of a woman in Beetham on June 30th and the blame being put on the police for this, and;
● Two days of shootings, physical attacks, burning of tyres, and blocking of roads following the June 27th killing of the three men in Morvant.
Supt Oswain Subero, head of IATF, said he joined the Police Service in 1988 and five years later, he experienced his first traumatic event. He said in those days, there were no clinical sessions to find out how officers were coping. Police officers, he said had to cope for themselves, and by themselves. He was happy that the TTPS has progressed to conduct such sessions, as was done today. He said although he was not directly involved in the June 27th shootings, the officers under his command were, and therefore, by extension, it has also affected him.
He thanked the TTPS and the CoP for being supportive of the police officers in these trying times.