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Commissioner of Police promised 'Drastic measures' *LINK*

BY GIZELLE MORRIS
http://www.guardian.co.tt

Commissioner of Police Trevor Paul promised yesterday to take drastic measures to rid the country of criminal elements.

Reading from a prepared speech, Paul declared: "We are in troubling times, times that require drastic measures."

Not revealing what these measures were, Paul said the police would be relentless: "Nothing will stop us from digging out criminals from wherever they may be."

The promises of hard action came the day after a device, the fourth in four months, exploded in St James on Friday night, injuring 14 people.

Two weeks ago Housing Minister Keith Rowley criticised the commissioner for not taking a more public role in the fight against crime.

Yesterday, Paul was hosting a press conference flanked by Chief of Defence Staff Brig Ancil Antoine and Director of the Special Anti-Crime Unit Brig Peter Joseph. Neither spoke, however.

Paul said the public had demanded action from the police, and action they would get. He said there would be zero tolerance and the police would be aggressive in dealing with unruly elements. He also warned that the measures might cause some inconvenience to the public.

"But have no fear," he said, "only the criminal-minded would be the object of our focus."

Paul pleaded with the public to co-operate with and trust the police.

"I am asking that the public buy into this national effort and report any suspicious or abnormal conduct. I want to impress on the public their crucial role in this very difficult time we are going through."

Paul also urged the media to be responsible in their reporting and cautious in releasing sensitive information.

The press conference, which lasted merely 20 minutes, was hastily wrapped up after reporters called on the CoP to account for police handling of the bombings in Port-of-Spain.

Journalists asked him whether the police had credible information to arrest Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr and five teenagers, including a 16-year-old girl.

Paul sidestepped many of the questions, saying investigations were at a sensitive stage.

He was reluctant to say if investigations linked the Jamaat to the four bombings. He also denied that Friday's raid at the Jamaat compound was made "in the name of action."

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