Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the National Security Ministry will be restructured into twoministries, Home Affairs and Defence, should the party win the upcoming general election.
She said the present system is flawed and cannot adapt to the demands of securing the nation.
She said the Home Affairs Ministry will deal primarily with internal law enforcement, and focus on policing, deterrence, crime prevention, law enforcement response, crime detection, apprehension, maintenance of law and order and the safety and security of citizens. The agencies to be included in this ministry would include the police, Fire Service, Prison Service, cadets, the Strategic Services Agency, the ODPM, the national security training academy, community comfort patrols and the E999 call centre.
The UNC leader said the Ministry of Defence would be formed based on the need to protect the borders from drugs, weapons and human trafficking, and terrorism. She said the focus would be on proper border protection, and an established network to work with international allies in intelligence and joint operations, as well as the critical aspect of policies to deal with terrorist activities both in prevention and immediate action if it ever arises.
Agencies to be included in this ministry would be the Defence Force, including the coast guard, air guard, and reserves; the immigration department and customs division as part of border security instead of the finance ministry; the trans-national organised crime unit (TOCU); the national security special operations group; the radar centre; the counter-trafficking unit; and the covert and counter-terrorist unit.
The UNC leader said the retirement age for serving members of the Defence Force would be increased by three years to enable the retention of experienced personnel within the respective arms of the military, in keeping with industry best practice.
Persad-Bissessar said changes would also be made to the recruitment process of the police, with recruits being required to possess at least a diploma in policing.
She said degrees and diplomas would be developed by the UNC and offered at UWI’s Debe/Penal Campus. Course would include law, governance and the criminal justice system; neighbourhood and community safety; understanding vulnerability, risk and threats in society; technology in policing; policing, criminology and victimology; practical forensics for policing; academic and professional skills for police research; methods in policing and security; using intelligence in police; contemporary operational vulnerability and public protection simulated and immersive; roads policing and investigation police duties and law; investigation of serious and organised crime; cybercrime and forensic investigation; and, accounting.
The Opposition Leader was speaking during the UNC’s virtual On The Ballot campaign platform on Thursday evening.
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