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Joint patrols calm ‘hot spot’

PORT OF SPAIN — Ten days after the joint police/army initiative was introduced in Laventille to quell gang violence, police officers are elated that there have been no murders, or reports of serious crimes, robberies and violence in the area.

The initiative was introduced at the beginning of March, after gang violence claimed several lives and left more than 20 homeless as feuding gang members burnt homes at Clifton Hill, Laventille.

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, along with the head of the Inter Agency Task Force, Superintendent Carlton Alleyne, confirmed the initiative, which was due to end on March 11, would continue indefinitely. After complaints from police on the ground that they were overworked and exhausted, Alleyne said a shift system had been worked out so teams of officers would be rotated every two weeks.

Residents support efforts

Applauding the community’s effort to work with the police yesterday, Corporal Hemraj Sirju of the Besson Street Station said: “People are welcoming the police patrols in the area. We are seeing the mature residents standing up and supporting us but there are about ten per cent who choose to rob and shoot and they are the ones really causing problems.”

Saying police could be found playing games and teaching youngsters, Sirju said they went into the community to “get the guns out of the hills of Laventille”.

He admitted: “It is a task, but we are making a good effort. It is unfair to say that all of Laventille is bad, because when you go into the area, you can see they are regular, normal people living in fear, because there is a lot of good up there.” (Guardian)

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