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Lack of leadership at the top

4 Roads – a small section of the city in the Grenville Street area that is controlled by elements who are engaged in several illegal activities

A former top brass in the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has called for a change in approach by the current High Command in bringing under control the illegal activities taking place in some of the “hot spot” areas on the island.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY, he said he believes that the Don McKenzie-led outfit is moving “too soft” in arresting the situation of gun violence in some sections, especially 4-Roads in the city.

He blamed a shortage of “contacts” by the police within these troubled areas for the failure of the lawmen to stamp out some of the illegal activities taking place on the island.

Residents reported that on Saturday night several volley of gunshots were heard coming from a particular section of 4-roads.

According to the ex-senior police officer, it is clear that the police force do not have persons inside the small village giving them information on the activities taking place there, as well as their own failure to put people in place to carefully look and monitor 4-Roads.

In addition, he said the Police High Command members “are not targeting 4-Roads as they should.”

“If you don’t challenge them, say like every week you’re in 4-Roads, turning up their stuff – you this you that Inside there) , they can’t move – you hit them during the week – you have to do that – you have to be challenging them and they (RGPF) are not doing that,” he added.

The retired cop told THE NEW TODAY that he is getting the feeling that this kind of engagement by the cops with the rogue elements inside the 4-Roads community “is not a priority” to those currently in charge of the Police Force.

He pointed out that a walk through 4-Roads on any given day in the week will not see any police presence in the area, as well as those nearby sections of the city such as Grenville Street, Maloney Street and St Juilles Street.

He warned that if the police are not challenging the bad elements in 4-Roads then they will not be able to control the crimes taking place there.

“It is control you need – you need to control the ground and if you can’t control the ground and making an effort to control the ground then you will have no impact,” he said, adding that, “you are not hearing about raids and operations inside dey anymore.”

He went on to say: “You must put police on points to monitor, to get information and tell you what is happening and then you can raid but if you ain’t have that. When he comes from duty, he is supposed to be writing a report and stating, “Look, this is what I saw – I see so and so with drugs.”

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The retired top cop noted that constant raids by the police in trouble spots will result “in everything quietening down.”

He expressed fears that the current members of the Police High Command “do not have the experience” in tackling those volatile drug-infested areas that have the illegal weapons.

“They never did it, they never studied that,” he quipped.

According to the former RGPF member, Commissioner McKenzie and his team in the top echelon of the Police Force should see the need to have uniformed police officers moving into these areas on a regular basis to take back control of these hot spots.

These officers, he said, can be used to perform duties such as observing, as well as taking notes and bringing back the information gathered to his superiors in order to plan strategies on dealing with the troubled areas in the country.

He recalled the response from RGPF several years ago when Tourism officials complained about the constant harassment to tourists by “the bad boys” linked to the Ghetto on the Carenage and the immediate response of lawmen to “mash it up.”

“…After you mash it up, you still have to police, so that’s why it is raising its head again in the ghetto,” he remarked.

The ex-cop stated that “the guys” on the Carenage are no longer seen operating inside the ghetto but are now more seen on the outside in the open space and can be better monitored.

He warned that once RGPF “stop policing” these troubled areas then the illegal activities will soon return.

He noted that anyone passing by these troubled areas “do not see any police officer standing on the outside dey during tourism time.”

He also recalled that during the 1979-83 period of the Grenada Revolution, the tendency was to target the well-known drug areas.

He said it is necessary to pick up some of the elements and detain them for 12 hours and question them about their illegal activities.

“12 hours is a good length of time to keep them – you pick them up for questioning, you questioning them” he quipped.

“You pick them up in the morning, you let them go in the evening.”

He said the strategy should be to do this thing twice a week or twice a month to help control the situation.

“If you are talking about dealing with situations you have to do it regularly,” he said.

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