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Anti-Gang legislation comes in effect on Monday
The Anti-Gang legislation will come into effect from Monday, giving the police the all clear to pursue and prosecute all members from criminal gangs.
Sources said the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) of the T&T Police Service has been keeping close tabs on approximately 2,459 suspected gang members nationwide whose names, whereabouts, and alleged activities are known to authorities.
In a statement from the Attorney General's office yesterday, it was said that Cabinet had given instructions to President Paula Mae-Weekes to proclaim the Anti-Gang Act, 2018 on Monday, having had written approval from the Cabinet, Judiciary, and the T&T Police Service.
Meant to strengthen the criminal justice system and assist law enforcement in its fight against crime, the act was passed in Parliament on May 4 and assented by the President on May 15. However, it did not come into force immediately as Section 2 of the act stated it shall come into operation upon proclamation.
"As such, the Government immediately commenced the process of consultation to ensure readiness by the key stakeholders for the implementation of the act," the AG's office said.
The release stated that the ad-hoc proclamation of the act under the People's Partnership resulted in millions of dollars in payments by the State for wrongful arrest in the failed state of emergency.
"In all the circumstances this Government was keen to ensure that only upon official consultation and confirmation by stakeholders that instructions were issued for the proclamation of the Anti-Gang legislation. The Commissioner of Police informed by way of letter dated May 23 that the T&T Police Service supports the immediate proclamation of the Act. The Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU) is in a position to take a leadership role in the pursuit of criminal gangs and the prosecution of the members and leaders of such gangs," the release said.
In a letter dated May 24, the Judiciary also informed that it had no objection to the Government proceeding to proclaim the act.
Once the act is proclaimed, the TTPS will be tracking down and arresting all gang leaders.
During an interview late last year, AG Faris Al-Rawi said the OCIU had been hard at work gathering intelligence across the nine police divisions. He said the act will help in rooting out criminal elements and reducing T&T's crime rate.
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