After 30 years, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is getting a new home. The proposed Abattoir Road, Sea Lots headquarters is estimated to cost close to $300 million.
According to the Public Sector Investment Programme 2021 (PSIP) document released by the Ministry of Finance during Monday’s Budget, the project is being undertaken in an effort to save on rental cost in and around Port-of-Spain and to consolidate its key operations under one roof.
The proposed new building will house the executive officers, comprising the Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioners, head of the executive management and managers of the Intelligence and Investigative Units.
The document states, “It is envisioned that this will allow for enhanced coordination between decision-makers and operational units, and real time execution of projects, decisions and security measures.”
The estimated cost of the project is $243.8 million (VAT exclusive) and the proposed works for 2021 include completion of designs and procurement of a main contractor. It adds that an allocation of $15 million will be provided in fiscal 2021 to cover the cost of designs and the construction contract, initiate the tender procurement process, site preparation, foundation and preparatory works and commencement of construction.
Contacted for comment on the project yesterday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith explained that the savings on monthly rentals once the headquarters is completed would be over $3 million. He said the location was chosen after a cost-benefit analysis was completed.
“The police headquarters will give immediate access to get anywhere,” Griffith said, adding the Sea Lots site was selected because it is owned by the TTPS and as such “it poses no additional expense to the taxpayer with regards to acquisition by the State.”
He added that the plan is to have all the operational arms of the TTPS under one roof.
“That becomes the engine room,” he said, noting this will improve the operational effectiveness of the Police Service.
Griffith said it will be similar to the One Police Plaza model adopted by New York Police Department (NYPD).
The old police headquarters, which was located on Sackville and St Vincent Streets in Port-of-Spain, was destroyed during the 1990 attempted coup.
Also in the PSIP is a plan to upgrade the Police Training Academy so that it can fulfil its proper role, which includes “a mandate to accelerate recruitment as a strategy to assist in eliminating the shortage of officers.”
According to the document, additional dormitory facilities are urgently required to provide increased residential training capacity. It said other works are also required, such as paving of the roads, upgrade and refurbishment work to the ageing buildings, building of a mock courtroom, allocation of space for a museum, re-establishment of the motor pool and other projects. A pre-feasibility study is to be conducted for the proposed works to the PTA.
Another key aspect of policing being addressed in the PSIP is police vehicles.
It said, “The supply of vehicles is critical to increasing the mobility and visibility of officers in achieving the strategic goal of detecting and reducing crime.”
The document said a total of $25 million will be allocated to support this initiative. It explained that the TTPS is aiming to expand its fleet by three (300) vehicles, from 1,633 to 1,933, including the procurement of armoured personnel carriers and sport utility vehicles.
“This increased mobility will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the TTPS by improving the level of service provided to all citizens, increasing police visibility nationwide and improving its operational capability throughout the organisation,” the PSIP document said.
There are also plans to refurbish Riverside Plaza, establish police youth club facilities, undertake repair works to the existing police stations and purchase essential technological equipment required by the TTPS.