Trinidad and Tobago's leader has created a combined national security force to combat gang violence in a crime-troubled community.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the initiative dubbed "Operation Restore" will join together police officers and soldiers to "restore peace" in the central area of Enterprise, where gun violence by feuding gangs has recently escalated.

She says the combined security forces "will operate 24/7 in that community to detect and suppress acts of violence."

Persad-Bissessar met with the joint unit during a Saturday visit to the central area following the close of a Barbados summit of Caribbean Community leaders.

Trinidad is preparing for Sept. 7 general elections. Opinion polls suggest the elections will be a tight race between the ruling coalition People's Partnership and the main opposition People's National Movement.