By Denyse Renne
Several units within the T&T Police Service are to be
merged and their officers transferred, as part of US criminologist
Prof Stephen Mastrofskis recommendations to transform
the police service.
Senior policemen, however, are denying the move is part of
Mastrofskis recommendations, and are crediting the plan
to Commissioner of Police Trevor Paul.
The first branches of the service to merge would be the Firearms
Interdiction Unit (FIU) and the Organised Crime and Narcotics
Unit , sources said.
The merged entity is expected to be called the Organised Crime,
Narcotics and Firearms Unit.
The move is being taken because the jurisdiction of the units
Sources said heads of FIU, Paul and ACPs James Philbert and
Gilbert Reyes, met at 10 am yesterday at Police Administration
Headquarters, Sackville Street, Port-of-Spain.
There, officers were told of their reassignment to the restructured
organised crime unit. Some were also to be transferred to
the Anti-Kidnapping Squad and CID.
Fifty-two FIU personnel would be affected by the changes which
take effect from August 8. They were given the required 14
Sources also said the E-999 and Inter-Agency Task Force were
also being looked at, since both these units operated like
the Highway Patrol and Guard and Emergency Branch, respectively.
Reyes dismissed claims that the FIU had been shut down or
that is not true. FIU is too important to be shut down. What
was done was a restructuring exercise and a merger,
Confirming that the FIU was now merged with the OCNU, Reyes
said it was a decision taken by the police executive.
executive looked at crime in the country and a decision was
He said as time passed, the police administration would look
at other units.
As for the seniors, who once led the FIU unit, a source said,
one of them was on pre-retirement leave, another on vacation,
and the third had not yet been told where he would be placed.
Contacted yesterday, vice president of the Police and Social
Welfare Association Noel Chase said the association was aware
of the plans for FIU, and had on numerous occasions called
for several units to be disbanded.
had looked at the state of manpower and resources in the police
service and realised there is an overlapping of duty,
was one of those departments, since they and OCNU were doing
the same things. Our main concern was the grouping of police
into one unit and the weakening of another.
A senior official said after the review of each units
operations, personnel would be placed in a section where
their skills will be utilised.
are doing things to develop our intelligence units. In the
end they will be powerful tools which will provide powerful
Duplication of tasks among units had been costly and a strain
on manpower, another source said.
The source said whenever a new unit was implemented, personnel
was recruited from other specialised units, causing a shortage
The Government hired Mastrofski, who was once attached to
the US Justice Department, for $5.7 million to formulate a
transformation plan for the police.
Sources said the recommendation was made by Mastrofski, but
senior officers insist the idea was Pauls.
Minister of National Security Martin Joseph could not be contacted
for comment, as his cellphones was switched off. Efforts to
contact Paul were also unsuccessful.