Two days of “intense” policing saw 138 people arrested by police over the weekend.
In the exercise which started on Friday at 6 am, which saw 22 drug blocks being searched, eight guns, as well as a variety of ammunition, were seized.
Police said 13 prohibited immigrants were also detained and quantities of drugs were also seized as well as two stolen vehicles recovered, a statement from the Police Service said.
The exercise, the first roll of out of Commissioner Gary Griffith’s Operation Strike Back for 2019 started just four days after the Commissioner was hospitalised and ordered to rest.
He spearheaded the operation which took place in all nine policing divisions across the country.
He said the country required such an exercise.
“There were a number of different things we can look at to show the benefit of this operation over the last 48 hours. It showed high visibility, it was a powerful deterrent and we basically lock down the country,” said Commissioner Griffith while addressing members of the media shortly after 6 am at the St James Police Barracks on Sunday.
He spoke while surrounded by senior officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service including Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Jayson Forde, ACP (South) Joanne Archie, Senior Superintendent (Port-of-Spain) Floris Hodge-Griffith, Senior Superintendent Michael Daniel of the Northern Division and Senior Superintendent Peter Dominque of the Western Division.
Griffith said over 1,000 officers took part in the exercise.
The Commissioner said this was a necessary statement to the criminal element of the country, while also pointing out the murder toll, which had usually been high in recent years during January, was markedly lower so far.
There were 60 murders committed in January last year, the bloodiest month in the nation’s history.
“I think it was very important that this weekend we keep it locked, you know many times people look at statistics and they look at homicides as a catalyst towards crime in the country,” said Griffith.
“Looking at the first 12 days of the year from 2018 to 2019 there was a comparison of 25 or 26 homicides last year in comparison to 11 this year. So we are going at over 70 per cent plus in a reduction of homicides so far this year. And there is a turnaround, we are turning it back.”
The Commissioner also took a thinly veiled jab at Fixin T&T’s Kirk Waithe and other critics.
“Again many people will continue to criticise us but what we have to do is stay strong focus and know exactly what our objective is. The armchair wanna be law experts, let them stay in their armchairs, let them feel they could fix T&T by going on a computer and speak. We intend to fix Trinidad and Tobago by doing what it is we did over the last 48 hours,” said Griffith.
“We did not sleep for the whole night, doing what was required to ensure the most fundamental rights of citizens would be adhered to, that is safety and security.”
There were 1,300 stop and search exercises conducted over the weekend, which saw tickets issued for 230 drivers for traffic offences.
However, despite this number, the Commissioner noticed a drop in Driving Under the Influence arrests during the operation.
“We have seen is a reduction in persons actually being apprehended for those offences which mean also that citizens are also starting to adhere to their own responsibility,” said Griffith.
He once again urged the public to assist the police with information concerning criminal activity.
- by Peter Christopher