Friday, March 1, 2013

Government moves to give soldiers powers of arrest

Cabinet on Thursday approved and confirmed a Note by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to give legal authority to specially selected members of the Defence Force to function and perform the duties of police officers. 

They would assist the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) in operations for maintaining and securing public safety and public order.

Members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) do not have powers of arrest, which puts these protective forces personnel at a disadvantage in trying to maintain law and order. 

The proposed bill would give legal protection to Defence Force personnel when they accompany police officers to assist in the detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences. They would enjoy the same rights, privileges and immunities as police officers and have the same powers as police officers, including power to arrest, search, seize and to carry arms.

The use of the Army in the fight against crime is not new as soldiers have been accompanying police officers on raid and joint patrols during the last decade. 

Under the previous Administration, soldiers were also drafted into SAUTT to assist the police in the detection and investigation of serious crimes. 

This legislative measure would augment and increase the capacity of the Police Service and give the service proper legislative footing. The move would give an immediate boost to the TTPS. 

It would also provide comfort and relief to members of the TTDF who have been involved in the fight against crime by ensuring that they are adequately protected in the performance of their duties.

The Government has pledged to ensure that Defence Force personnel are trained in areas such as police practice and procedure, investigations, law and court process to ensure that they are properly equipped to undertake their duties along side police officers.

However TTDF personnel won't be permitted to embark on policing exercises on their own. The draft legislation would be laid in Parliament on Friday.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai