They will have some comfort in the fact that the Government has allocated the largest portion in the 2015-2016 Budget to the Ministry of National Security.
The police now have more money to better finance their crime-fighting efforts.
They can now spend more time in detection and apprehension leading to conviction.
Consequently, we expect the number of arrests to increase.
But the people of TT must realise the police can’t do it alone, and give support. As in the Garden of Eden, it doesn’t matter who picked or ate the apple, but the consequence is that the human race is paying the price for the infraction.
We all share the burden, the consequences of crime. There are no unaffected bystanders here.
I am convinced that most of our law enforcement personnel are conscientious and dedicated, but their performance has been negatively affected by a few “maladies”, some not of their own making.
These issues have contributed in part to the low number of arrests in recent years.
One such condition is the “shortened arm of the law” syndrome that affects officers.
Too many perpetrators have escaped because the long arm of the law was unable to grab hold of them.
I expect that the increased allocation of funds will address this shortcoming.
Another issue is an apparent vision problem.
This relates to the process of detection.
This has been a concern for many years.
Even looking at it from a Canadian viewpoint has not cleared up the problem.
It remains a serious challenge. But I can see a change coming in the number of arrests that will be made.
In the past, the work of the police was blind-sided when the intelligence unit, SAUTT , was disbanded.
It is now history that there was further shortsightedness due to the delaying of the acquisition of vessels (OPVs) to assist in surveillance of the shady coastline of the Gulf of Paria.
It is crystal clear that one can’t achieve good conviction if you can’t have good detection.
But with improved resources the number of arrests is sure to increase.
Then there were the psychologically depressing experiences of not being able to catch “big fish” criminals; with so many legal loopholes in the net, even the small fry got away.
The fishing season was out for the last five years. But now we are anticipating a turning of the tide and opportunities for the law enforcers to apprehend some big fish in their dragnet. We expect a good haul to take to the courts.
It’s stressful for our cops to stand by and see people looting our coffers, while their hands are tied by “outof- time” procedures and their vision obscured due to inadequate resources.
We want to admonish the hardworking police officers not to take “ah rest” but to do their best to make arrests.
Also, if the police arm is too short they need to be reminded of the scripture, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1).
And on the vision issue, “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cries, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (Ps 34:15).
So, we must now lodge an appeal to the highest order. We need divine intervention and the corporate action to complement it.
Mr Commissioner, we have to pray.
Our policemen should not raise their hands in despair, but raise their hands in prayer. Today they need to pray to hear what God is saying to resolve this matter.
It’s time for us to turn to the spirituality factor.
Let’s establish a prayer programme in the Police Service, with chaplains and prayer sessions. That is long overdue. So while our police dutifully look into prevention measures and solving all the red, black or white-collar crimes, they need to remember to look up to God. Let’s pray to reduce this scourge of crime on our land. It’s time to arrest crime.
Apostle Terrence Honore Palmiste, San Fernando