Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith. Azlan Mohammed/AZP News
POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith has taken to social media to answer his critics saying he makes “decisions based on what is right and not what is popular.”
In a Facebook post titled No Popularity Contest on his personal page, Griffith said, within the past few weeks he has made controversial decisions that have caused nationwide debate.
Noting freedom of speech, Griffith said some people have demonstrate a lack of understanding of the law.
He said, “Just a few of these decisions, which have caused some to comment in an adverse manner, have in fact raised eyebrows internationally, as those who understand law enforcement, are shocked that any logical thinking citizen would have concerns on making decisions based on what would have been done in the exact same manner in those countries, as is mandatory due to their experience and expertise in understanding the value of making such decisions, and adhering to Standard Operations Procedure.”
Referring to recent exercise where 69 people (some of whom were found caged and handcuffed) were rescued from the Transform Life Ministry in Arouca, Griffith sarcastically stated, “The audacity of me, being so bold, to release 69 persons who were reported as being imprisoned against their will, tortured, beaten, left naked, kidnapped, assaulted and had funds taken away from them.“How dare I as Commissioner of Police, be so out of place to expose this and release these persons from captivity?”
On another issued he stated, “The decision to acquire Armoured vehicles to protect the lives of Police Officers:
“In Parliament recently, a concern was raised by a politician as to the audacity of a Leader in the Police being so foolish to want to acquire vehicles to ensure that my Officers can be protected from hostile gunfire when they patrol.
“So what if almost every elite law enforcement unit in the world has similar vehicles to ensure that the lives of Police Officers are protected, but how dare I do the same to try to protect the lives of TT Police Officers whilst performing their duty?
“How dare I acquire an Armoured vehicle to assist the State to ensure that we are prepared to act if there is ever a repeat of 1990, or to extract a hostage if held captive, or to get personnel to a site to defuse a bomb, by wanting to have them secured in a vehicle that could save their lives?”
On the Police Social Media Monitoring unit, he said, “So what if this is done worldwide – why should a unit be established that would monitor what everyone else is viewing on social media, even though this Unit would assist in reducing child pornography, human trafficking, child prostitution, recruitment of terrorists and recruiting of gangs, and getting leads to solve or stop a murder, because apparently for some, it is the right of the criminal to be protected and have a degree of privacy, so how dare I try to invade that privilege, even if it could save lives.”
Although not calling the President of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke by name, Griffith said, “A well-known figure is charged under the Sedition Act, and the media only uses the extracts of what was conveniently fed to them, instead of actually acquiring the charge report.
“To clarify the misconception, I reveal the actual charge report, showing much more of what was in the charge report.
The Defence Attorney then sends a release, voicing his concern, that I revealed the truth and the facts to the public, so a media house puts a headline saying ‘Gary’s Mischief ,’ because how dare I reveal the truth to the public, because revealing the truth, revealing facts to the public is seen as mischief.”
And on the presence of CrimeWatch host Ian Alleyne alongside officers rescuing his sister who was being held hostage, Griffith said, “The latest horror is me being so bold to launch an investigation whereby Police Officers, engaged in a hostage crisis, allegedly being confronted by someone with a firearm, but allowing a civilian to become vulnerable and exposed in a firefight, and being allowed into a possible kill zone, which could have also affected the said officers in the performance of their duties.
“The excuse to justify such approval being that it is the family member of someone makes it even more important for anyone who has a firearm, not to be engaged in such an armed conflict, especially when it is under the control of the TTPS as that said time.
“The same critics who are concerned about me being so bold to deal with a breach of operational law enforcement policy by allowing a civilian into a hostile environment would be the first to be expressing concerns, had that same citizen been killed in the crossfire.
“Whilst the Officers can be commended for their actions in extracting the hostage unharmed, I ask which country, Police Department or Service in the world, would find it appropriate for a relative of someone being held hostage, to be allowed to draw a firearm and accompany Police Officers into a hostage crisis?”
He added, “Social Media is indeed a double-edged sword as it opens the door for comment on every matter, much of the time without proper research and many times facts, causing at times more harm than good.
“For too long, this country has seen many decisions made based on persons in authority going in a certain direction to win support and popularity.
“As a Leader and in this case, as Commissioner of Police, I have no intention to ever make any decision or comment, based on doing what the majority feels, but doing what is required based on whether it is right or wrong, or whether it is legal or illegal.
I have no intention to change that stance.”