We are sorry

Assuring the public will not endure such stress during police exercises again, Alleyne-Daly declared the power to order such initiatives will be stripped from inspectors, assistant superintendents and superintendents.

“The authority to initiate road check exercises will reside only with divisional commanders, and heads of sections and branches, going forward,” Alleyne-Daly, who is acting for Acting CoP, Stephen Williams, told reporters during a media conference at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain. Williams is currently out of the country.

Disassociating the executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) from the actions that led to massive traffic gridlock on both islands and also caused businesses and schools, even bank branches, to close for the day, Alleyne-Daly assured there will be no repeat of the action.

As such, she said, the TTPS executive has appointed Assistant Commissioner of Police Vincel Edwards to investigate all the action undertaken by all participating divisions. Edwards has been given two weeks to complete the probe.

The TTPS executive has also ordered all the senior superintendents to investigate at their level what took place, she said.

Asked about penalties for police officers if they were found in breach of their regulations and code of conduct, Alleyne-Daly said, she would not preempt the investigations. She noted, however, that disciplinary procedures were in place for disobedience to orders, and insubordination among other forms of indiscipline.

Asked if she believed that the Police Service and Welfare Association was behind yesterday’s action as a form of protest to hasten the salary negotiation for police officers, Alleyne-Daly said, “That is why we are having an investigation. We have no information thus far.” She could not say how many officers would have been involved in the exercise, pointing out, “Every division had officers involved. We are still tallying how many at this time.”

Asked if she had known beforehand of plans to stage the exercise, Alleyne-Daly said, “Had we known about this, we would have taken measures to deal with it.”

From information obtained, she said, the exercise got underway at 5 am and roadblocks were put up at key locations. The order was given for officers to “stand down” at 7 am. However, the effects of the gridlock continued past the mid-morning hours. As to any charges, arrests and traffic tickets issued during yesterday’s action, Allyne-Daly said no information pertaining to the results of the exercise was available at the time.

Alleyne-Daly also said she had no reports of people being robbed during the traffic jam.

Questioned on the effects that the police officers’ actions would have on the public’s confidence in the service, she said, “We want the public to know that we disassociate ourselves from the actions taken and to note the proactive measures being taken.”

The road exercises undertaken yesterday, she said, did not speak to the aim of the initiative which was to increase citizens sense of safety and security.

It should not have caused the level of inconvenience experienced by members of the public, she said.

It was “quite possible,” Alleyne-Day said that instructions for the road blocks to take place were done at the level of operational inspectors. These inspectors along with superintendents, and assistant superintendents will now be stripped of that responsibility.

Road blocks, she said, were normally done as part of a “total policing day” exercise that may also involve the execution of warrants and doing lectures in schools among other initiatives. In this particular case, she said, “We have recognised that it has gone beyond what was normal and hence the inconvenience to the public.”

Total policing day, Alleyne-Daly said, was done throughout the country on a daily basis, adding “but not of this magnitude.

“You may find that a division will have one today and another division on another day,” she pointed out.

Apologising to members of the public for the inconvenience caused by the police action, Alleyne-Daly gave the assurance that there will be no further inconvenience of this nature.

Mindful of the ongoing wage negotiations with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO), she said, the executive was supportive of the collective bargaining process.

The police association is expected to return to the bargaining table with the CPO today. They want a 19 percent salary increase while the CPO is offering less than ten percent.


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