|Ag. CoP Stephen Williams (Guardian photo)|
Williams also answered questions about the low crime detection rate and noted that it is not a s cut and dried as one might expect.
“What happens, by way of detection, murders take extensive investigation to be conducted, and what you may find is that a murder may be solved not necessarily when it is committed, but it may be solved over a period, sometimes over a year," Williams said.
He said he expects the detection rate to increase, with more murders being solved. He added that there is a “clear plan” to lift the detection rate and noted that one hindrance is the lack of human resources.
“The Police Service right now is facing a shortage of manpower by 1,430 persons," said and noted that the service is on a recruitment drive. "At present we cannot dedicate more persons to the investigations of homicides. The priority focus of the Police Service is on crime reduction, crime control,” he stated.
Williams said the focus is on crime reduction and that requires the largest number of officers to be out on the streets seeking to manage and control crime. “We have seen a major reduction in serious crimes in 2013, but as we go forward and look at the issue of homicide investigation, we are seeking to expand the team of dedicated investigators and provide additional training for those officers,” he said.
“We are also going to bring on board additional forms of technology. And as you have less numbers to investigate, you can dedicate more time to those less numbers,” he explained.
Williams also spoke about the concentration of criminal activity in hot spots. “We use the term ‘hot spot’ loosely in T&T, because wherever there is a concentration of crime we say ‘hot spot,’” Williams told member of the Parliamentary Committee.
“But ‘hot spot’ is clearly defined as a small geographical area. So we call Laventille a ‘hot spot,’ but it is not that, it is a large area, so within Laventille we can locate some ‘hot spot’ areas.” Williams identified 188 hot spots and said the Police Service has engaged the expertise of Prof Lawrence Sherman, director of the Institute of Criminology of the University of Cambridge, to do a proper scientific analysis of the crime situation. This, he said, has helped police in tabulating the number of hot spots.
Williams said police stations deal with the bulk of the hot spots are:
- San Fernando
- Besson Street, Port of Spain
- Central Police Station, Port-of-Spain
- St Joseph
- St James
- San Juan