Police Station Theft

January 02, 2010

PoliceThe reported disappearance of US$94,000 seized from an alleged drug dealer and which had been lodged in the property room at the Couva Police Station should be thoroughly investigated.

The property keeper is reported to have discovered the money missing, about 5 pm on December 29, when he found the property room unlocked and an envelope in which the money was contained, missing.

The money formed part of the exhibits in the court case against the suspected drug lord who had been charged, among other things, with unlawful possession of it. Its unauthorised, indeed illegal removal from the station’s property room is not only an embarrassment to the Police Service, as Acting Commissioner of Police, James Philbert, has stated, but to concerned citizens as well.

We demand action and we demand results. Coming so soon after the discovery in August of a cache of arms in the ceiling of the St Joseph Police Station the theft of the US$94,000 has the potential to erode confidence in the Police Service. It is also distinctly unfair to the good name of honest officers as it is a clear case of lawbreakers in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. The arms, incidentally, had been earlier removed from the property room of the St Joseph Police Station.

The removal of the money has made a mockery of the instructions by the Acting Commissioner of Police that measures be implemented with respect to the lodging of court exhibits. These instructions had followed on the cache of arms scandal at the police station at St Joseph. What were the measures instituted? We have posed the question as the removal of the money from the property room of the Couva Police Station appears to have rendered these “measures” ineffective.

Meanwhile, whatever became of the investigation which had been ordered by Philbert into the incident at the St Joseph Police Station? Was the culprit (or were the culprits) found and charged? If so, when? What did the investigations unearth? We ask these questions, not merely on behalf of our readers, but on behalf as well of every other concerned citizen in our twin-island State.

That investigation is clearly taking too long.

Philbert, on December 30, confirmed that senior officers from the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) were investigating the disappearance of the money, adding that he had already received an interim report. He advised a Newsday representative he was awaiting yet another report from investigators. “We are pursuing the matter vigorously and at the end of the investigations firm decisions will be made,” the Acting CoP assured.

We do not question Philbert’s determination to have the matter of the US$94,000 missing from the property room at the Couva Police Station solved. Nonetheless, we are concerned that while he and the senior superintendent specifically assigned to the case, along with other senior officers, genuinely want a resolution to the embarrassing incident there may be others in the Service not similarly disposed.

While, admittedly, records at the Couva Police Station which indicate when the money was last lodged and all of the station’s diaries which were in use at the time of the discovery of the missing money, have been seized by ACIB detectives there are clearly elements determined to frustrate any breakthrough.

The Trinidad and Tobago dollar equivalent of the stolen US$94,000 is some TT$599,720 and for a part of this it appears there may be those who may be inclined to “see no evil and speak no evil.” In the process they do the Police Service, the country and themselves an injustice.

Hopefully, the serial numbers of the US currency notes were recorded when the money was seized. These should be circulated to the various commercial banks in Trinidad and Tobago. The breakthrough may lie in the execution of this strategy.


8 thoughts on “Police Station Theft”

  1. If I were the CoP, I would have temporarily detained all the officers who were present, from the time the money was last seen, to when it was discovered missing. Each one would be interviewed. I would check records and eye witness accounts of any officer acting outside of his usual behavioral/habitual patterns. It would be necessary to check for any major changes in bank account balances and frivolous spending. The homes of the officers and any close friends and relatives would have to be searched(along with any major financial transactions on their behalf). All this would be done in one day.

    If I were James Philbert, I would transfer a few officers and assure the media that investigations are continuing.

  2. People, didn’t our parliament recently pass legislation, touted as necessary to deal with such matters. And wan’t the opposition blamed for such incidents if they did not support this bill. I would check this out and come back. If anyone can confirm pls do.

  3. There was a time when T & T police officers were respected for their protection of our citizens. I would imagine they prided themselves in ensuring whatever they confiscated would be safe and available to be presented in the courts of law.

    Now we in T & T have to concern ourselves with bandits, kidnappers and now police what a sad state of affairs. How can the police be trusted if they can lose “US94,000 at a (Couva) police station and other offices locate a cache of arms in another police station (St. Joseph). Seriously, we can do better than that “if you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem.”

    I continue to wish the best for my country. I am aware that there are police officers and Acting Comissioner James Philbert who are doing everything they can to change the turn of these events. They need the help of citizens and those who know something about the two major issues mentioned.

  4. Mbodkin said that “there was a time when T & T police officers were respected for their protection of our citizens.” You are serious , aren’t you my friend?
    Like you I too am outraged at some of the despicable types of behaviors that have emerged from amongst some of our law enforcement officials recently, but please do not go willy nilly rewriting history due to your present frustrations.
    For the record , even as far back as 1973 when Commissioner Claud Anthony May was in charge ,there were Police Officers that did not fully adhere to their motto of ‘protect and serve, without favor or affection , malice or ill will.” Let me guess , you miss the good old days of the Fox his 1978 successor, that eventually gave us the notorious Flying Squad, correct?
    I have said it before , but perhaps it is worth repeating for the benefit of the naive at heart who serves as grateful middle managers across the various Canadian provinces, European disjointed wastelands , or neglected Yankee enclaves.
    Your police are just another microscopic representation/ reflection of the society as a whole. It is alleged that many Jamaicans for example ,are hot tempered , classless brutes , and so their police are no different . Most would follow jack and the beanstalk to heaven so as to kill Jesus if they suspect he Was harboring a few poor ,hungry Yardees that looked like them.
    Racism is alive and well in America,and baby sister Canada, guess what type of police you’ll get? Racist you whisper? You bet. Italians love their Mafias, Columbians and Mexicans are over-saturated with certain violent drug related issues, their police are legendary.
    Brazil and India could care less about lower class desperate, Haiti is poverty stricken , and since independence Nigeria’s main export product seems to be fraud and corruption. Care to guess what type of police would emerge from any of these societies mentioned?
    Now to sweeten the brew, let me draw your attention to a few Trini fax that your Canadian Mounty , Aborigine hating Australia Queensland police, and insensitive London Scotland Yard bloke don’t have to worry about.
    Our police officers are some of the most demoralized ,abused , and misused working group you can find in a similarly rich nation on the planet. They are micromanaged by incompetent foreign security advisors, most Trinis believe that the best police is a dead one ,unless they suddenly become a victim of a crime and require special service.
    Our 1990 political debacle was the equivalent of America September 11th at the hands of destructive Pro ‘Islamofacist thugs.’ See how politicians on both sides of the North /South divide dealt with the problem? When the English courts give the London Commissioner of police a order to arrest someone they are allowed to do their jobs , but not here in Trinidad . Instead our Commissioner nearly had some hot water thrown on him and his men as they tried to execute an arrest warrant on a certain unnamed completely honest , and astute former Chief Justice at his posh residence. For every 100 police that re recruited within a year 150 leaves the service in frustration ,surprise , surprise mbodkin!
    Listen friend, if you are diagnosed with a heart attack or a stroke due to you being 400 pounds , and a penchant for eating Gerra pork , and fatty over saturated foods daily, you do not cut off your big toe , or do a nose job in LA to solve your problem. Instead you go to the heart of the entire issue and try to rectify overall causes. By pass surgery perhaps and restructuring of overall life style. We have a corrupt society , and many- but not all-,chose to use their acquired power for personal benefits unfortunately.

  5. My comments are in response to the 500+ lives lost through crime,the public outcry for justice and the negative impact of a few rogue cops.” All of the above in addition to other issues such as high unemployment for a segment of our society, lack of affordable housing and adequate and affordable health care, backward steps related to inter-group relationships, and basic necessities, running water, sewer system and trash removal. The aforementioned are relatled to the crime increase and breakdown in our society.

    None of these factors takes away from the fact that when I grew up in T & T, yes, this was prior to’73 “citizens felt protected by the police.” People also had more respect for the law, so this is a two way street.

    Each individual young, old, of whatever hue has a responsibility to be “a part of the change they seek.”

    I remain hopeful for some changes in 2010.

  6. I just cannot argue with such astute logic as put forth here by mbodkin.To sum it up, 2010 is when we should be able to put it together, life was greater back in the days before 1973, and most importantly, folks had more respect for the law ,even as they sported those horrendous shot pants.
    Guess what mbodkin, the kids of former slaves and indentured laborers are all grown up now, and are making demands , while pointing fingers and blaming each other .
    Don’t worry , as MLK once said we shall over come.

  7. Does anyone remember the “keystone cops?” This proves that new fancy buildings, cars, plans, mansions, flag poles, and summits aren’t what we need in our society. I am almost ready for Miami.

  8. Be forewarned Curtis , Miami is more than fine whether , naked bikini clad gals frolicking on beaches ,star studded celebrity orgies ,homes for senior citizens , and peaceful tranquility, and security .
    It also harbors thousand of Castro’s castoff ex prisoners , post economically depressed yet extremely lucky to escape Haitians, and roughneck ,money grabbing Jamaican Yardees. Please don’t forget to add to the list ,a whole bunch of southern redneck, racist cops, that could threaten to make this undermentioned depicted ,stupid bloke ,look like almost like a harmless Pope John Paul 11 ,in comparison.

    My advice to you and my other thin skinned fellow nationals , is to leave ‘dem people’s state’ alone. Instead , continue to come home yearly for your carnival respites , while you ponder and or reflect on how lucky you are to being part of such a beautiful rainbow paradise country as ours ,even with all it’s special developmental issues.

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