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300 new vehicles for rapid response unit

PORT OF SPAIN — Police will soon get 300 new vehicles and more manpower which will go towards a new Rapid Response Unit, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, St. Clair, she said yesterday’s National Security Council meeting had given approval for the police commissioner to get the new vehicles. This is intended to make a vehicle available near each police station.

The police service has been plagued by complaints about failure to respond quickly to situations due to a shortage of vehicles. Manpower for the unit and for the police service in general would come from 2,000 SRPs to be sent for training next month, she said. The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology has identified training modules that will allow SRPs to work alongside police.

Persad Bissessar said Government was also obtaining scanners to pinpoint how cellphones entered prisons. The scanners would operate alongside “jammers and grabbers”, equipment which would jam cellphone signals from within jails and/or intercept information from them for intelligence purposes, she added. Persad-Bissessar said work also was ongoing on the UN plan which provided assistance to track weapons.

As the PM made the announcements, she was sitting next to visiting Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell. The recently elected Mitchell said he was visiting T&T to strengthen Grenada-T&T relations. Discussions between the two PMs covered co-operation on security, trade, education and health. T&T is also to recruit nurses from Grenada.

The PM said government would undertake infrastructural work on a segment of the coastal radar system which T&T provided for Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. She said government had done a lot of work on the system in the last three years. Mitchell said the system was running effectively and Grenada had used it yesterday to make a major drug interception.

Persad-Bissessar said Mitchell had accepted government’s invitation to come to T&T next month for the visit of US Vice President, Joe Biden. She said Mitchell was the first of the Caricom leaders who were invited. He has agreed to attend. She said security issues were at the top of the agenda for the US visit. (Guardian)

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