A leading criminologist, Prof Lawrence Sherman, has been enlisted as part of the T&T Police Service's arsenal against crime in partnership with the University of Cambridge in the UK.Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams said 25 officers took part in a video conference yesterday at the Police Training Academy, St James, as part of the English university's police executive programme.
The first phase of the programme, which contains a series of lectures, runs for two weeks and teaches officers how to conduct evidence-based policing.The lecture was given by Sherman, the director of the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge and head of the Jerry Lee Centre for Experimental Criminology.Williams revealed that to reporters yesterday as he opened the new Sgt Hayden Manwaring Lecture Theatre at the Police Administration Building, San Fernando.
In response to President Anthony Carmona's call for thinking out of the box in dealing with the rampant crime situation, Williams said the new partnership would help with the low crime-detection rate.He added: "For the first time in the history of the Police Service, we are conducting training, using video conferencing, with the University of Cambridge. This is out of the box thinking for the Police Service.
"We are utilising evidence-based policing as the new approach. It is not about getting criminal evidence but using scientific evidence to treat with crime."So we are looking at good practices, things that can be utilised by experimenting, to make a difference."He said this approach was about changing the culture of the TTPS and was one of several new initiatives that had resulted in the reduction of the murder rate this month.
He added: "The thrust is for us to look at tried and tested ways of impacting on crime. Hotspot policing is a dominant feature of what is being done right now."It is not by accident the murder numbers are changing. We had seen a big spike in the month of February but you would have seen clear changes in the month of March.
"This is not by accident. It is by dedicated, hard work and smart policing that we are seeing the changes. We are changing the culture of the Police Service and creating a new norm in how we approach policing. "There are tremendous things happening in the Police Service and sometimes it is important to dialogue around those positive things because the future of the country depends on how fast we can move the organisation to impact crime and create a safer environment."
He said since police and army patrols have stepped up in Laventille, there has been an end to the killing spree, making the area a safe place for people to go.The police training session continues until next week and 200 officers in middle-management duties will take part in it.Once the video conferences are completed, the next phase of training will be done using a secure Cambridge University Web site and pre-recorded lectures.
Williams said Sherman is expected in Trinidad in May to complete the programme. "We have taken a big step forward to seek out ways and means of impacting the Police Service," Williams said.He declined to comment on the status of his investigation into the New Flying Squad Investigation Unit, saying yesterday was a day for "upliftment."