The Brasso Police Station is not being closed, according to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
The CoP responded to Guardian Media following concerns from residents of the community who believe crime would skyrocket should the police move out of the area.
Paras Ramoutar, a former Local Government representative and resident of Caparo, said here has been a police station in the area for over 100 years.
Ramoutar said if the station was to fold operations, the 100,000 persons living in the rural community would now have to go to Gran Couva to report crimes and seek help.
Ramoutar said, “ When Commissioner Griffith made the pronouncement early on the job, we wrote to him protesting the closure but have had no response as yet, which has become the norm in policing in our country. Within recent weeks, there were reports of undesirable elements in the community, and residents now fear for their safety, and there seems to be no comfort for the tax-paying residents. It is totally unfair for us, and I am seeking the Minister of National Security to look into this issue as one of urgency.”
Ramoutar said what has angered him and residents is the lackPolicensultation.
“There was no discussion, no meeting, no communication, but suddenly we have heard that the Brasso police Station is now something of the past. There is no peace in T&T and with the closure of the Brasso Police is now a license for criminals to roam the area with no police surveillance. What a state T&T has now descended into, and Minister Stuart Young is only apologetic, with no positive answers or correctional measures.”
However, Griffith said police stations are not being closed but are being refitted to deal with other areas of policing.
Commissioner Griffith said having a police station in an area does not prevent crime.
He said, “This is a very old, outdated perception by many citizens in T&T that if you put a police station it is going to assist in reducing crime. If someone steals mango in someone’s yard there will be a demand to put up a police station in that area, that is not how it works. In T&T we have 77 police stations that have to look after 1.3 million people. New York City that has to look after 13 million people has 71 police stations. The fact of the matter is that police stations are not avenues to reduce crime, that is basically cosmetic. The more police stations that we have around the country it means that have less police on the street doing policing and that has been the problem.”
Griffith said over 2,500 police officers are stationed guarding police station. He said some stations are located within a few minutes of each other.
He added through an effective 999 system and online reporting there is very little need for a person to come to a police station.
He said deterrents to crime are based on a highly visible police presence. He said some stations would be outfitted to deal with issues such as victim support and domestic violence issues.
The Commissioner assured online reporting would go directly to the necessary department for action.