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PM Gonsalves visits Ottley Hall

PM Gonsalves visits Ottley Hall

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There needs to be a better understanding by persons in the community of the role of the police in helping them.{{more}}

This was the view expressed by Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Ralph Gonsalves during a visit to Ottley Hall last Thursday, January 26.

The prime minister interacted with residents of the community which has, in recent times, had its issues with violent crime.

Gonsalves said that the Commissioner of Police, in his management and training of officers, was seeking to have what he termed sensible policing and policing that interfaces with the community.

“It is understandable that from time to time, one person or the other may feel dissatisfied, so we have to lift the police force, the training and everything which is happening,” the prime minister explained.

But he further contended that the residents also had a responsibility to understand the role of the police.

In the January 5 edition of SEARCHLIGHT, it was reported that some residents admitted that officers on patrol in the area had been victims of verbal abuse from some who did not appreciate their presence there.

The article further stated that there were times when the mobile unit had been pelted with stones.

However, Gonsalves told members of the media on Thursday that it had been reported to him by Commissioner of Police Keith Miller that there had been no reports of any serious crime in the area since the deployment of the mobile unit.

“I have spoken to them (residents) on the block, young and old and they have said to me that the mobile unit here has done a tremendous job to keep the criminals away,” Gonsalves said.

He added that some of the young women had commented, saying that the officers would usually assist in escorting them home, particularly those living in dark areas.

The unit has been stationed in the area since January 7 after the shooting death of 19-year-old Alvisha Browne on January 3.

A mobile unit had patrolled the area in the early December and, immediately following the death of Browne, residents called for the unit to return.

But there are still persons who do not appreciate the presence of the police in the area, Gonsalves said.

“You going to hear one or two people complain what they bring police over here for? But the police are here to restore peace and order in the community and I reaffirm the position that the vast majority of people in Ottley Hall are good, law-abiding, decent, hard-working people,” he contended.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Keith Miller also commented on the success of the mobile unit, saying that its deployment has been a tremendous success.

But while the Commissioner and prime minister are pleased with the success of the mobile unit thus far, it was noted that there was the need for a more permanent presence in the area.

“Fighting crime is a work in progress,” Miller said. He further stated that a building had already been identified to allow for the setting up of a permanent police sub-station in the area, which would allow for the mobile unit to traverse other areas in the country. (DD)

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