Can anyone explain why a police exercise that is meant to catch criminals is being officially launched? Or why was such information released to the media for publication last week? To our astonishment, we read in a daily newspaper that Commissioner Griffith and his team were about to re-launch Operation Strike Back, now cleverly called Operation Strike Back 2. The report reminded us, as well as practicing and potential bandits, gangsters, drug dealers etc about the successes of the last Operation Strike Back and where the sequel is supposed to be concentrated. In fact, the relatively small article which looked like a copy and paste of a news release from the TTPS was so chock-full of information that it left nothing to the imagination.

Why, we ask again. Why? What’s the logic behind such a move? Is it that the strategists believe that bandits can’t read and that the operation to catch them would go unnoticed? Or maybe that the price of a news paper now is a deterrent therefore the poor criminals can’t afford to read that the police are coming for them. The price of toilet paper is astonishing and nothing goes to waste these days. No pun intended. One might decide to read before application and Operation Strike Back – The Sequel is a bust. Down the toilet it might go with all of the other ‘operations’ that preceded it. Can you remember Operation Anaconda? It’s the only time that a ‘big snake’ was laughing stock.

While there may be some truth to the fact that school and learning to read may not have been priorities for criminals, it is common knowledge that these foot soldiers are just that and they are controlled by higher forces, businessmen in some cases who can read. The questionable decision to publicly release information that the police was executing an anti crime exercise only compounds the already disturbing issue of leaks from within the force that reach the criminals ahead of scheduled exercises. And in this age of social media where information travels at the speed of light, we worry about the success of Operation Strike Back 2 to apprehend any Big Fish especially.

It is not our intention to trivialise a matter as serious as a police anti-crime exercise but neither can we be the only ones that seem to take things like these seriously. We understand the necessity for the protective services to undertake missions to make the country safer and in turn, receive positive feedback from the public. Good public relations is a must for all organisations. But at what cost? Praise should come from success rather than the intention. Greater care must be taken to not jeopardise the effectiveness of police missions if they are to make further positive strides. Commissioner Griffith should seriously consider adding public relations to the list of items that is to be sought from foreign intelligence.