Commander Garvin Heerah
THE safety and security of citizens are under threat after civil unrest in Port-of-Spain over the past week.
This according to strategic security consultant and former head of the National Operation Centre Commander Garvin Heerah. He was speaking during the Newsroom programme on Gayelle the Caribbean on Thursday with AZPNews.com Editor-in-Chief Prior Beharry and co-host Errol Fabien.
Heerah commended the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) for its handling of the unrest.
He said, “They were able to bring this situation under control.”
Since Monday, residents of Morvant blocked roads to protest the police killing of three men in their area on Saturday.
The protests Tuesday saw angry protesters clashing with police in Port-of-Spain with a pregnant woman also being killed.
Based on the level of violence, Heerah said, “What we are seeing is a different type of approach now when it comes to protests and all of this stemmed from the BLM (Black Lives Matter) that we saw in the US a couple weeks ago.”
He said what was unprecedented was that for the first time since the 1990 attempted coup, the police were under gunfire from some individuals.
Heerah said there was now a great demand for technology in modern day policing and “presently the TTPS is making inroads into maximizing technology as a support to crime fighting, reduction and information gathering.”
He said, “This is not an easy shift in culture because there is a term known as compatibility where you have to have the compatibility on the ground and in country to facilitate the medium or transference of that type of technology received and to be analysed.”
Heerah said, “With limited progress that has been made thus far by the police service regarding technology, they’ve been able to use it quite well.”
With regards to the use of body cameras, Heerah said, “We should not only be considering (footage from) body cams admissible in court but in the aspect of capturing scenes of responses in national security not only for the police service.”
He said, “Bodycams are needed in country, legislation needs to be accelerated and we need to consider that for the Defence Force, Coast Guard and the prison services.”