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City cop saves business owner from bandit

The trinidad Guardian / One of the municipal city police officers who graduated from a special training course yesterday, was hailed as a hero by a Port-of-Spain business owner, after the officer managed to arrest a would-be bandit/mentally ill man who had ran into her store just before lunch.

According to police, Constable Vedesh Singh, who is attached to the Port-of-Spain City Corporation, responded to a report of an attempted robbery in which the mentally ill man allegedly tried to rob a taxi driver along Frederick Street, near City Hall around 11.50 am.

Police said the man was causing havoc in the city throughout the morning and the call of that particular robbery was the latest in a series of reports made during the day. After the man ran into the store, the owner, who did not want her name or store to be identified, said she began beating him with a chair. She said she did so because the man had closed the door as he entered and she was fearful that he had come to do her and her employees harm. While beating the man, Singh entered and both he and the suspect began fighting, resulting in the man being shot in the leg. The man, subsequently identified as Pascall Roberts, was taken to hospital where he later died.

Singh was one of 50 police officers attached to seven municipalities who were trained in police wireless communications and graduated yesterday following a two-day training stint. But Singh could not attend the ceremony due to the earlier incident.

The officers are now able to connect with the E-999 police wireless communication and vice versa, something that was non-existent a few years ago. All officers under the municipal banner will now be trained in the system, which means they will now be able to send and receive wireless messages about crimes along with their counterparts in the police service.

The training is part of the intended Local Government reform which will give more authority to municipal police, particularly in rural arrears.

The graduation of the 50 officers yesterday was the third batch of officers to be trained in using the system.

Addressing the graduating class, ASP Stevenson Mack said the idea to bridge the communication gap was spawned following a meeting with stakeholders in the lead-up to the Carnival period. Mack, who spoke on behalf of acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, said he was looking forward to the partnership, as the officers will be the additional ears and eyes of the police service.

Commenting on the shooting incident following the ceremony, Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez said any crime in the capital is not a good thing and he was not happy about the daylight brazen attack.

“Criminals don’t care about time of day any more. They no longer waiting for night, that is scary,” Martinez said.

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