CoP Gary Griffith, right, gives an elbow bounce to Guardian Group CEO Ravi Tewari after the presentation of hand sanitiser stations at the Woodbrook Police Station yesterday.

Police officers will now be covered by COVID-19 insurance following an agreement between the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Guardian Group.

At a news conference outside the Woodbrook Police Station yesterday, CEO Ravi Tewari said the group is fulfilling its social responsibility to support the police, especially at this time.

“The fight against crime is a national effort. It’s not just a police effort. It is not going to be successful unless the public offers support and these are the kind of things that make it a little more comfortable for an already uncomfortable job,” Tewari said.

Those covered under the specialised Guardian Life of the Caribbean plan will be entitled to $10,000 if they contract the virus.

Should they die, as a result of COVID-19, their dependants will receive an additional $25,000.

The coverage period will be 12 months but will be subject to review, depending on how the COVID-19 issue develops within that time.

According to the estimates given by the company’s actuaries, Tewari said, prospective payouts for the plan will range between $750,000, at the low end, to as much as $10,000,000 on the high end.

“This is the type of appreciation and support that we really need. It will assist police officers. It may not prevent anything from happening, but it provides a cushion. It can provide some level of support should something happen to the officers,” said Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.

At an estimated cost between $50,000 to $100,000 to the Guardian Group, the Police Service will also be sponsored 80 sanitation stations.

Griffith said a sanitation station will be placed at each of the 77 police stations across the country.

Griffith said he’s been pleased with the level of support offered to his officers by the private sector but he criticised those who have portrayed the work of his officers in a negative light.

“It plays a very big part to lift morale. To lift motivation. It doesn’t help when everyone criticises; attorneys, ex-magistrates, there are persons always trying to condemn and criticise members of the police service. These men and women are out there putting their lives on the line,” the commissioner said.

Expressing confidence that the majority of the population supports the work the service has been doing, he urged “armchair critics” to stop trying to use every issue, big or small, to attack his hard-working officers.

In another insurance-related issue, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith revealed that he’s seeking to make arrangements to permit digital motor vehicle insurance certificates.

Saying he had received calls from several insurance executives about the issue, he said steps have begun to grant their requests.

“I have to get requisite approval from other authorities, but that is being done. So it is being taken into consideration,” Griffith said.

As things stand, the offices of some insurance companies are closed, while many that are open are working with reduced staff capacity, as a result of COVID-19 public health measurements.

This, in turn, has resulted in people with expired insurance certificates being unable to collect new certificates.

The proposed digital copy, once approved, will allow certificates to be emailed, or mailed, to clients.