T&T Police Social and Welfare Association (TTPSWA) president Michael Seales is calling on Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to polygraph all officers in the T&T Police Service (TTPS).
Seales made the call yesterday, hours after Griffith confirmed he had transferred several officers who recently refused to take voluntary lie detector tests.
Speaking on CNC 3’s Morning Brew programme, Seales said the association was in support of the transfers by Griffith.
“The association is also calling for him (Griffith) to let us polygraph everyone. Let us not make it selective...and have it to the point where persons are alleging discrimination, let us level the playing field and have the test done across the board,” Seales said
On Monday, Griffith confirmed that in one station in the southwestern peninsula, 15 of 16 police officers had refused a voluntary polygraph test. He vowed to clean up the TTPS, saying some officers were either trying to cover for their fellow officers or were turning a blind eye to criminal activities and adding that officers must be trusted at all counts.
TTPSWA secretary Anand Ramesar also told the Guardian Media on Monday that 40 officers had been transferred from the southwestern peninsula of Erin, Cedros and Icacos to inland stations at Point Fortin, Santa Flora, Siparia, Fyzabad and Oropouche. Ramesar has advised the officers to put their complaints in writing, following which they will meet with Griffith to discuss the issue.
At the moment, officers attached to all special units, including Special Branch and Special Operations Response Teams, must be polygraphed.
Yesterday, however, Seales said the majority of the TTPS’s 7,000 officers saw no problem in taking the voluntary test.
“Up to now the Commissioner has not applied that test to anyone. I see a lot of persons talking. I cannot understand the furore.”
Seales said the point Griffith has been trying to drive home was about maintaining the TTPS’s image.
“If we don’t bat consistent with legitimising the police service, then we are invalidating our very existence.”
Seales said he did not expect the service to be divided on the move, adding there was a suggestion that the test should first start with the First Division and senior officers.
“The point is the association would not get into that type of debate. The issue for us is having a police service that is consistent with world standards....that world standard must mean we must be beyond reproach. To be a legitimate police force we must stand on the side of truth and stand on the side of what is right,” Seales said.
- by Shaliza Hassanali