Bad eggs in the police force
The arrest of a policeman who attempted to solicit money from a man he knew had committed a dastardly act, and the hunt for someone who was once trained to protect the nation—a former soldier- tell us that all is not well in the society. The situation tells us that people who should know better are mere products of the society; people who think ahead to pursue criminal activities.
It is now suspected that some people join the Guyana Police Force and the army so that they could be trained in the use of guns. Indeed, guns hold a fascination for the less academically inclined.
For some time now, the Police Commissioner has been talking about the bad eggs in the force. They must be more than even the Commissioner knows because ever so often one hears about corrupt policemen. In fact, complaints to the media reveal a large number of corrupt policemen unless the same corrupt ones move about the country with alarming alacrity.
We had earlier spoken about the public perception that the police are perhaps the main perpetrators of crimes. One South Sophia family, reacting to the shooting to death of their patriarch, said that the man was heading home after working as a taxi driver. They said that when the gunmen attacked him they called the police who seemed to be not far away but who failed to pursue the gunmen.
On another occasion, the victims in Canje said that they could not understand the reluctance of the police to pursue the gunmen who had not left too long before the police arrived. There is now talk that policemen, operating under a contract, may have been complicit in the killing of the five people at Liliendaal. The police force actually mounted an investigation in this area.
Still fresh in our memory is the fact that serving policemen gravitated to criminal enterprise in the wake of the 2002 Camp Street jailbreak on Mash Day. These policemen later became the prime hunters of the prison escapees but the Guyana Police Force never acknowledged their role. These men, when fingered at crime scenes, simply produced their police identification and were allowed to evade any police cordon.
These were the men who were also said to provide cover for certain drug operations in the country. In the end when the situation became intolerable, the police called in the rebel policemen who must have been living the good life because they ignored the call.
The police are no strangers to prosecuting their own. During the past year there were no less than twelve prosecutions. Some are still in the courts. Right now we have the case of some policemen arresting a taxi driver who was transporting money from a murder believed to have been committed by some soldiers. The policemen were arrested at a roadblock.
The army also, is not without its bad eggs but these seem to be less, perhaps because the army has a more rigid policy of monitoring its ranks.
Whatever, the case, the situation is frightening, especially when one considers that the criminals who were once members of the police force and the army are trained. Indeed, when caught these culprits are dealt with condignly. But for the society this should not be. Eyewitnesses are reluctant to provide information because they worry about the recipient of the information.
People say that whenever they report crimes and identify criminals, the very criminals get the identity of the informant. The word is that the police provide the information to the criminals.
There is a solution to this problem. The police need to keep transferring its ranks rather than allowing them to remain in one location for too long. Only the criminal minded would refuse to be transferred and this has been the case in the past.
The army has a more rigid hold on its ranks although these days cracks are beginning to appear in the system. Not so long ago, high powered machine guns disappeared from the armoury of the Guyana Defence Force. Some of these weapons are still missing. The hunt for these weapons—nearly three dozen of them—led to some high profile criminals and the recovery of some guns.
Both the army and the police need to do more to screen those who enter their ranks. The army asks the public to help but given that people now have the fear of being fingered for providing information, this request more often than not will fall on deaf ears. It is even more difficult for the police.