Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is angrily pursuing an investigation in which members of the T&T Police Service and the T&T Defence Force were recorded allegedly forcing street dwellers to consume alcohol and then exercise under duress.
The videos which surfaced on social media yesterday has prompted parallel investigations by the TTPS, the TTDF and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).
In a release, National Security Minister Stuart Young condemned the inappropriate behaviour by the law enforcement officials.
Young said, “The behaviour depicted in the videos is condemned in the strongest manner.”
He reiterated that the TTPS and TTDF will act in a responsible manner and carry out important roles and duties during this time of Stay-at-Home.
Griffith, who received the videos from outraged citizens, acknowledged the ire being directed at the officers.
Contacted via phone, he said, “I give the assurance to the public that the TTPS will not abuse their authority.”
Indicating there was a heightened police presence along the nation’s roads as 85 emergency response patrol vehicles were on the roster, he said while police officers will not be arresting anyone for leaving their homes, they will be employing the powers of persuasion to convince persons why they need to stay safe and stay inside.
Referring to the videos, Griffith said, “This is a blatant abuse of authority. It is totally unacceptable and definitely not what I want to see in the TTPS.”
Up to 2 pm yesterday, Griffith said aggressive checks had already led investigating officials to determine the make and model of the vehicle, and ascertain the vehicle’s GPS locations within the previous 24-hours.
Griffith vowed, “We will do what is required to identify the individuals and if and when we do find them, and what we see has been confirmed, I can give the assurance that as CoP, I will do what is required to have those individuals removed from wearing the police uniform immediately.”
Meanwhile, the PCA has received the video footage of the apparent abuse of powers and has declared it reprehensible behaviour by persons who appear to be members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service during this period when the government has instituted “Stay at Home Measures.”
In a release, the PCA said it had requested a report from the Commissioner of Police pursuant to Section 21 (1) (c) of the PCA Act Chapter 15:05 and intends to monitor and audit the current investigations of the TTPS.
The PCA is strongly advising all police officers that this type of conduct is to be deprecated.