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Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith at a news conference.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is denying that business owners or persons who provided backing to the In Support of Our Services Programme—ISOS—were granted Firearms Users Licenses (FUL).

Responding a front-page newspaper report (not the Sunday Guardian) the Commissioner also defended the work of the ISOS Programme and chastised certain sections of the media for attempting to “tarnish the credibility” of the programme.

In a statement on Sunday, the Commissioner, who is on vacation in Ireland, explained that prior to becoming head of the police service a mere 128 persons acquired FULs in 2018.

He said in the two years there have been over 6,000 applicants who received FULs or Provisional permits, and no more than a handful being those who supported the TTPS under ISOS.

Commissioner Griffith said the ISOS does nothing other than building a better relationship between the police and the public, especially in communities.

Detailing the history and genesis of the programme, Commissioner Griffith said it was designed on three primary pillars—one to strengthen community partnerships, such as the very popular “caught in the act” campaign, where members of the community were recognised and rewarded for doing the right thing.

The second pillar, being youth partnership, including the Civics in Schools campaign, where members of the combined TTPS and Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service visited over 40 schools, reaching hundreds of youth, sharing with the various youth on the values required to become good citizens.

And the final pillar, being corporate partnerships, where members of the business community identify simple ways in which, their partnership with the TTPS can not only bolster the service members but strengthen community/police interactions.

As such the Commissioner said it boggles the mind, that such energy can be used to find ways to negate this initiative.

He questioned why and what grounds would anyone continuously attempt to weaken any drive toward strengthening community /corporate/youth and police partnership.

He said the premise being put forward by certain reporters is that anyone who would have provided support for the TTPS, should not be considered for a firearm, and if they are, it should be perceived that this decision was based on the Police being influenced, even if they, like any other citizen, would have qualified based on the legal parameters stated within the legislation on qualification for consideration.

He said attacking the ISOS campaign on the grounds that some quarters of the media seek to do, is attacking the rationale for the programme, the objective of the programme, the beneficiaries of the programme and all those who recognise the values upon which this programme has been based.