Tuesday 26th February, 2008

 

Operation Clean Sweep latest anti-crime effort

 
 
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BY GEISHA KOWLESSAR

POLICE intend to make a clean sweep of criminals in North-Eastern Division with their latest anti-crime initiative—Operation Clean Sweep—which was launched on Saturday, by the T&T Police Service.

The officers raided several hot spots over the weekend, seizing an assortment of ammunition, high-powered firearms and arrested a primary suspect believed to be connected to shootings within the division.

Operation Clean Sweep, a three-month initiative, also focused on the confiscation of illegal drugs within the division, police said.

Lawmen have also been mandated to conduct 24-hour patrols, raids and random checks until the operation ends.

The exercise would also target criminal elements believed to be connected with the smuggling of narcotics and firearms into the country, police said.

North-Eastern Division has been plagued with a series of gang-related crimes, including reprisal killings during the past months.

Operation Clean Sweep is the brain child of officers assigned to Morvant Police Station.

The station, along with five others, was chosen last year to form Government’s model station project.

Objectives of the project included forming stronger ties with members of the community and targeting crime, especially at the street level.

Officers said Operation Clean Sweep was proposed to senior officers in North-Eastern Division a few weeks ago.

It was, however, sanctioned only recently by executive members of the Police Service.

Among the units involved in the operation were the High Performance Team (HPT), based in Morvant, and officers from the Morvant CID and Task Force.

Police said they would target certain areas within the North-Eastern Division, including Sawmill Avenue, Pelican Extension in Morvant and Barataria.

Operation Clean Sweep has joined the list of other initiatives previously implemented by law enforcement officers.

These included Operation Anaconda launched in 2001 under the stewardship of former National Security Minister Howard Chin Lee.

Two years later, Operation Baghdad was undertaken by the Police Service to weed out criminals.

Both Operation Anaconda and Bhagdad, however, came under heavy criticism from members of the public, who deemed them a waste of time.

Officers praised

Contacted yesterday, acting Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of Anti-Crime Operations, Gilbert Reyes, showered praises on the officers.

Reyes commended them for what he described as “dedication and commitment to duty.” He added:

“I am, indeed, impressed with the officers deployed at North-Eastern Division.

“They have been working night and day to bring the crime level down, especially in Morvant and Barataria.”

Asked if similar initiatives were expected to come on stream in other divisions, Reyes said it was possible, “but still too early to tell.”

Successes so far

n Close to 200 grammes of marijuana recovered

n Recovery of an assortment of ammunition

n Recovery of several firearms, including

pistols and revolvers

n Arrest of a suspect linked to shooting offences

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