Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says he wishes the public could have the same support for the T&T Police Service that they have for him.
He made the comment after a TTPS press conference at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain yesterday. During the press conference, where Griffith did not speak, the results of two polls were released. Griffith confirmed that the polls were conducted by independent market research and analytics consultant Akilah Procope but were commissioned by the TTPS and not the PSC as Guardian media reported previously.
The first poll gave Griffith an impressive 80 per cent approval rating while the TTPS as a whole was given a 59 per cent approval rating.
“If there is one thing I wish that I could change, it has to do with the approval rating for the TTPS to the approval rating for the Commissioner of Police. In the blink of an eye I would gladly switch places, if that could transcend into that of the TTPS and even myself, going to 59 per cent, I would prefer that. This is not about an individual, the importance of this is to ensure that the TTPS can continue to develop,” Griffith said.
He said although crime rates have dropped to record lows, those records are meaningless if the public does not have confidence in the TTPS. “Last year, the police statistics (showed) it was the highest reduction in the percentage of crime in 30 years but that means very little if the fear of crime is still there, it means very little if there is not a degree of confidence and trust in the TTPS.”
Speaking on the low rating of his officers’ response time (40 per cent) and professionalism (50 per cent), Griffith said the TTPS is continuously working to improve the level of service its officers offer to the public. He said although some may question the low rating of the TTPS overall, the results were very positive.
“I heard some questions where people say ‘well 59 per cent is not very high’ but very few places in the world you are going to have a police service where for every two persons, one person supports the police service,” Griffith said.
He said the results indicate that most citizens recognise and appreciate the work of the TTPS. He gave an assurance that the TTPS will work to improve on areas where public confidence is low.
“I give the assurance to the public that it does not mean we are going to sit back and accept this, we have a long way to go, we have a lot to improve and I give the assurance to the public that we would do so.”