IN the midst of a series of Express articles detailing allegations by a Cocorite man against Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and subsequent criticisms of Express journalists by the country’s top cop, Griffith said yesterday he wanted to bring closure to the issue and that the media was his ally.
The real enemy is the “enemy within” the Police Service, referring to officers he said have been involved in criminal activity.
Speaking at the police press briefing at police administration building in Port of Spain yesterday, Griffith and Police Service legal director Christian Chandler criticised the taking of a photograph of Cocorite resident Cecil Skeete’s report at the Four Roads Police Station where he alleged that Griffith had choked and threatened him.
“One of the big issues I do have to deal with in ensuring that the law can be enforced is the enemy within. Where there are individuals within the TTPS that obviously have been involved in criminal activity. This is not the first time someone has taken a photo of a station diary. But this does nothing to assist in building the trust that the public will have in the TTPS if it is persons are aware that anytime it has some sort of bacchanal or you are trying to set up someone you can say anything, just for example, and someone can take a photograph and share it.
Griffith said on his watch thousands of people have been arrested, charged and convicted, including police officers.
Some officers may have an “axe to grind” because they were disciplined for breaches of regulations.
“Obviously they are not my friends. They would have concerns. Is it that we are saying that every time anyone of those thousands of persons who just for example, just have an axe to grind, they can easily make an accusation and this is going to be on the front page?” Griffith asked.
The Commissioner noted that he transferred officers from various divisions and units.
He said that sometimes this was done to remove problematic officers who had breached internal regulations or rules, but not committed any crimes.
Griffith maintained that the media was an ally.
“So I wish to really put a close to this and (state) this is not a cat fight. The TTPS will continue to provide any support, and we see the media more than anything else, as an ally and an asset to assist the TTPS in the performance of our duties. I would just like to deal with matters that the country wants to deal with. The country is fed up of hearing the TTPS is being attacked, the Commissioner of Police being attacked every day on the headline news. That does not help the citizens. That does not help the society. That does not help in providing the citizens with the most fundamental rights in terms of safety and security,” Griffith said.
Station diary part of probe
The station diary extract which contained the allegations made by Skeete is not missing, legal director Chandler said.
“The station diary is not missing, that is not true I don’t know where they got that from. (I know the) Commissioner is a little guarded with this as it is part of an internal investigation but they have the diary,” he said.
Chandler said he had not seen the diary but was instructed about its contents.
He said the diary extract had not been signed by the officer who took the report.
Griffith spoke on the matter as well, saying that he wanted to bring closure to the issue.
“I intend to ensure good sense will prevail. It is not a case of me trying to defend my name because there was nothing to defend. I am not going to be a dog barking at every car that passes based on someone making an accusation. It has to be based on evidence, there must be witnesses...something to verify.”
The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) last Sunday called on the Police Complaints Authority and Police Service Commission to launch an investigation into the “immediate and expeditious” probe into the allegations made in the Express investigative report.