Laurel V Williams
A joint exercise by regular and municipal police together with representatives from the San Fernando City Corporation and the Princes Town police station council (PTPSC) saw scores of officers in the streets of San Fernando on Monday, sharing safety tips on shopping during the Christmas holidays.
San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello said the exercise was to ensure the city is safe for the public and the business community.
He also warned criminals, “Stay out of San Fernando.”
The mayor said there have been increased patrols as police who were normally assigned to schools have now been assigned to the inner city and major shopping areas.
Regrello said he had seen an improvement in shopping, adding there are many ongoing projects in San Fernando, like Skinner Park and the Waterfront refurbishment projects.
Not wanting to speak “too soon” on the Skinner Park project, Regrello added, “hopefully,” it will be ready in time for the much anticipated Calypso Fiesta, the semi-final rounds of the National Calypso Monarch competition.
He assured the public that San Fernando is “safe to shop right now.”
He appealed to the street vendors to adhere to the rule and regulations, saying if they failed to do so, they would be removed.
“We are somewhat tolerant of vending although we know it is a necessary evil. But at the same time, given the circumstances, they have to work with us,” Regrello said.
He said the vendors must refrain from selling on the pavements as it blocks the free passageway of people.
“We are strict and rigid with that. We are not encouraging seasonal vendors. We are accommodating the regular vendors,” he said.
The public can benefit from free parking on Harris promenade and Penitence Street on Saturdays and Sundays.
Divisional commander (Southern), acting Snr Supt Richard Smith, and other police gave out pamphlets and brochures on safety tips. He said the more information the public have, the less work the police have. He added it was not that the police were shying away from work, but they wanted the place safe.
“Public safety is one of our pillars in our strategic goals,” Smith said while on High Street.
Besides the inner city, Smith said the police also intensified patrols in the outer areas.
“While here, we have patrols on the outskirts and in rural areas. We are also partnering with the TT Defence Force,” Smith said.
“One crime is too much for me.”
He also endorsed the mayor’s plea for criminals to stay away.
“We have had a few murders in the past two weeks, but we have been putting systems in place. We have our intelligence and gang units working very hard with regard to getting information,” Smith said, not wanting to divulge details.
Also in the exercise were Snr Supt Lucia Winchester, Supt Carty, Insps Lewis and Phillip, ASPs Jaikaran and Bertie and other police from the Southern Division. It also included Snr Supt Cecil Santana and other municipal police as well as PTPSC president Oral Sooknanan.
One security tip to “outwit the thief” is that people lock their vehicles. Another is to park in busy, well-lit areas near CCTV cameras.
People can secure their cars by never leaving their keys in the ignition, even in a service station, or when paying for fuel.
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