Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear editor: Is TTPS really pleased with a 20% solve rate and 1% conviction rate?

Dear editor: Is TTPS really pleased with a 20% solve rate and 1% conviction rate?

“[…] For years, the murder detection/solve rate has been less than 10%. No lie. I have been monitoring this since 2007. Typically, the ‘solve rate’ hovers between 4% to 6%.

“This year, 2020, TTPS has risen to heights hitherto unseen, by reaching a whopping 20% solve rate. Of course, that included the domestic cases where the perpetrators are usually known/caught at the scene/or surrender…”

The following letter to the editor on the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) detection rate for murders was submitted to Wired868 by Mohan Ramcharan of Birmingham, England:

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (right) has a word with ACP Michael Pierre.
(via Stabroeknews)

I am pleased that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is pleased with their ‘100%’ rise in detection rate for murders. According to Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Investigations McDonald Jacob:

“In the first four and a half months for 2020, we had solved 20 murders but from middle of May to date we have solved 21 murders, showing a 100 per cent improvement in our detection rate.” [Newsday, TV6 21/07/2020]

The other side of that ‘glossy’ statistic is not so rosy however.

For years, the murder detection/solve rate has been less than 10%. No lie. I have been monitoring this since 2007. Typically, the ‘solve rate’ hovers between 4% to 6%.

This year, 2020, TTPS has risen to heights hitherto unseen, by reaching a whopping 20% solve rate. Of course, that included the domestic cases where the perpetrators are usually known/caught at the scene/or surrender.

Looking at the bigger picture, there are some 252 murders to date, meaning the police only solved 16%. Now, remember that this is by police standards which are not very high apparently, since the conviction rate—which comes after the arrest and prosecution—is a mere 1% of the ‘solve rate’ quoted by TTPS.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Police Service officers.
(Courtesy TTPS)

Has that sunk in yet? In other words, the police standard of evidence and detection is so low that a court finds it reliable only 1% of the time!

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago ranks fourth in number of homicides per 100,000 citizens: 37.4. We are only surpassed by Venezuela, Jamaica and Honduras.

I am pleased that TTPS is pleased. I am not pleased they are so easily pleased.

About Mohan Ramcharan

Mohan Ramcharan is a Trinidadian living in England, an LLB (Hons) law graduate, systems thinking practitioner, and critical thinker. He is a product of two cultures and strives to be ethical and impartial in his thoughts and actions.

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2 comments

  1. The murder rate is horrible and the solving rate is even more horrible and of course unsolved murders serve as an encouragement for the criminally minded to commit such acts. Domestic dispute murders are the easiest to solve because the perpetrator is almost always known. It is the robbery murders, home invasion, burglary, gangland killings etc. that are very difficult to solve. In some countries people are quick to call the police and more than willing to testify to what they saw, TT is different. In TT people are scared to point the finger at civilian shooters, eyewitnesses have been murdered for trying to do the right thing. Without eyewitnesses it becomes very difficult to solve murders with the legal finality of a conviction. The police cannot grab anybody because they look bad and just lock them up, they need proof, eyewitnesses, videos etc., they need something that can stand the test of a court of law. In some countries the phone companies collect cell phone tower data about whose phone was at what location at what time, date etc., if a serious enough crime happens the police back traces whose phone was at that particular location and this has in fact led to convictions for serious crimes. I don’t know if the TT police does this but they should. But of course a defence attorney will say that his clients phone being in the area isn’t proof that he was the one holding the phone lmao.
    Most murders are gun murders, and we must understand that once the illegal guns are in the country then it is already too late, they sell as quick as the doubles or the fry chicken, everybody wants one. Border security is more important than road blocks, more important than cctv, if we can prevent the guns from entering we can save more lives than with anything else. We must not wait for a boat chase, we must work with Venezuela to police the Paria totally, I mean total control, total radar coverage, patrols everywhere, armed helicopters ready to shoot traffickers who don’t surrender when commanded to do so. It is time to reactivate capital punishment, but we must include corrupt cops, coast guard, customs, Gov Ministers in the list of crimes that lead to capital punishment. Don’t wait for the murder victim, execute the traffickers so the shopkeeper gets to live, execute the gang members so the taxi driver gets to live, execute the corrupt gov officials who steal TTD549million so our nation doesn’t end up like Somalia or Zimbabwe. We have to be willing to do what must be done to defend our people, and status quo solutions will not work, if they would have then we wouldn’t be in the situation that we are in today. The dreams of our people are being destroyed by imbeciles with illegal guns, drugs and women and the corrupt who allow them to exist and persist.
    TT is going to get worse before it gets better, think Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, why do we think that this can’t happen here, and it’s not PNM vs UNC, it’s T&T, everybody has their part to play, the perpetrators and the innocents who enter into a conspiracy of silence and protect the criminals be it out of fear or self benefit.