International police officers to assist local Force – says Rohee
-civilian specialists to be employed
-mandatory overseas training for Constable to officers
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has outlined an elaborate plan that will see, among other things, significant changes within the Guyana Police Force and other entities under the purview of his Ministry.
Facing a gag order in the National Assembly, the Minister took the opportunity to use a forum conference to detail his five-year plan that will see a name change for the Police Force, the Guyana Prison Service as well as the Guyana Fire Service; the employment of specialist civilian professionals within the Police Force and the possibility of international police officers as consultants.
Addressing more than 100 people in the auditorium of the Police Officers’ Training College, the Home Affairs Minister noted that Government’s Public Safety and Security Strategy is now on the cusp of a critical but necessary phase.
He said that if this phase is not implemented, the result would be a backward step for the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Security Sector as a whole.
The strategic plan for the Guyana Police Force for the period 2013-2017 will see the implementation of a Strategic Management Department, which will have oversight of the plans’ implementation.
This body will have in its employ 10 high level civilian professionals in certain positions within the Force to ensure that a high degree of professional technical and efficient inputs guarantee the implementation of the plan itself. The plan was drawn up by a United Kingdom based consultancy group.
Rohee disclosed that adjustments to the internal management structure of the Guyana Police Force are envisaged.
This strategic plan, Rohee said, will come at a cost of $35M annually.
The Minister added that side by side with the implementation of the strategic plan, the UK based Capita/Symonds Consultancy will be contracted to focus on four specific or critical areas of the Guyana Police Force.
These include strengthening the administration of the force, with particular reference to standards, recruitment and retention of staff and succession planning; Integrity/Probity (Professionalization) aimed at improving the professionalism of the Force through strengthening its accountability and instigating a more rigorous approach to development of integrity; and Public Relations/Communications, designed to develop a sustainable approach with particular reference to a modern and responsive approach to dealing with the media and other internal and external stakeholders.
“Implementation of these areas may see the involvement of international police officers as consultants. However, the contractual agreement in the main, will see the procurement of highly qualified specialists,” the Minister explained.
The first phase of this Consultancy will last for a period four to six weeks, beginning this month and will cost about $25M.
Rohee said that his Ministry is committed to ensuring that the Strategic and Implementation Plan as well as the specifically targeted Capita-Symonds Consultancy will be fully implemented within the agreed time frames.
He added that the current Leadership of the Guyana Police Force is on board and fully supports the initiatives.
According to the Home Affairs Minister, efforts to civilianize mutually agreed clerical positions within the Guyana Police Force has already begun with the employment of 60 Data Entry Clerks to input data generated by the Integrated Crime Information System (ICIS) Facilities at 42 Police Stations within “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” and “E and F” Divisions.
In addition, a qualified civilian/professional has been recruited to the post of Policy Analyst at Force Headquarters.
“Moreover, Cabinet at its meeting held in November 14, last, agreed to effect a name change from Guyana Police Force (GPF) to Guyana Police Service (GPS). The legal and other adjustments inherent in this change are profound and far reaching; and will result in a number of institutional and operational adjustments to the Guyana Police Force,” Rohee told the gathering that included members of the Private Sector, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Rohee also announced that in preparation for the 2013 Budget, the Ministry of Home Affairs has submitted a radically different draft budget to the Ministry of Finance for its consideration.
To this end, the Home Affairs Ministry has recommended severe adjustments particularly in the area of training in the allocation for the Guyana Police Force in the Ministry of Home Affairs 2013 Budget proposal.
“Whereas in the past only five percent of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ budgetary provision was allocated for local training, for 2013 more than thirty percent of the Budgetary provision will be utilized for training both locally and overseas.”
Rohee explained that his Ministry, in consultation with the Senior Management of the Guyana Police Force, has agreed that for the year 2013, ranks from the level of Constable to Assistant Commissioner will be sent abroad for overseas training. This is to be made mandatory.
At the local level, with the recent approval by Cabinet of a policy on Study Leave for ranks in the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Fire Service, the way has now been cleared for ranks from these Departments to pursue academic studies at the University of Guyana and other institutions of higher learning at home and abroad without losing any benefits and entitlements.
This move comes at a time when there were complaints by ranks that they were being prevented from pursuing higher education, with some of them even losing their jobs as a result of taking time off to study.
Approval is also given for the training of police ranks in aeronautics, with a vision to have them operate soon to be acquired police aircraft.
Rohee lashed out at opposition arguments that there is incompetence and “lack of leadership” at the highest level at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“Opposition Leader, David Granger is on record stating, ‘we are not concerned with one single incident; we’re concerned with a pattern of behaviour over a six year period’.
“Granger is also on record as stating, ‘no one on either side of the House believes that Public Security is in good hands, which is the ultimate principle’,” Rohee pointed out.
He declared that the Opposition Leader’s claims that the Security Sector, and by implication public safety and security have been jeopardized, is baseless, without foundation and cannot be justified by the facts.
He pointed to statistical data which he said exposes the inconsistencies and false propagandistic claims in respect to the period in which he has been serving as Minister of Home Affairs.
With respect to fatal accidents, Rohee said that there was a 23 percent decline in the loss of lives when a comparison is made between 2001 and 2006 and the period he took over as Minister of Home Affairs.
“This is an indication that the Guyana Police Force has been more effective in managing Traffic during the period 2006 to 2012 and there has been more deliberate citizen and institutional efforts and collaboration to reduce accidents on our roads.”
According to Rohee, a comparative glance of the total reports of serious crimes committed in Guyana for the cluster of years 2000 to 2005 and 2006 to 2012, indicates the reports for the years 2006 to 2012 reduced by seven percent.
For the years 2000 to 2005, some 28,471 reports of serious crimes were recorded by the Guyana Police Force, while for the years 2006 to 2012 the total reports were 26,467.
During the period 1999 to 2005 the Police were involved in 129 fatal shootings, while during the period 2006 to 2012, the Police were involved in 87 fatal shootings.
“These figures indicate that the number of fatal shootings by the Police has reduced during the latter period 2005 to 2012 and more firearms have been recovered.
“Moreover, these claims made inside and outside of Parliament are fundamentally political, spurious and false in essence. Further, they are historical and vindictive and have absolutely nothing to do with ‘a pattern of behaviour’, nor whether ‘Public Security is in good hands’.”
“Were the Opposition to move away from the narrow, myopic approach in viewing developments in the Security Sector, they would obviously see the holistic, well thought-out and carefully executed new dispensation prevailing in the Sector.”
One of the characteristic features of this new dispensation is the involvement of the Private Sector and other non-governmental Stakeholders in process of institutional strengthening and capacity building of the institutions under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“Never in the history of our country and this sector in particular has there been such productive involvement of non-governmental Stakeholders in assisting to build greater confidence in and support for the Security Sector,” Rohee stated.
The National Assembly had passed a motion of no confidence in the Minister of Home Affairs, after it was put forward by the leader of the parliamentary opposition.
He said that his Ministry wants a constructive engagement with the parliamentary opposition, since according to him, there must be an engagement that will be structured, sustainable and all-embracing, with well established reporting and accountable mechanisms worked out and approved by both sides.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs is prepared to bring to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee for deliberations the Strategic and Implementation Plans for the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Prison Service as well as its projections for the 2013 Budget for the Guyana Police Force.
The Ministry is agreeable to setting greed and specific timelines for reporting back to the Oversight Committee on the progress and challenges that have arisen to facilitate or hinder implementation of the Strategic Plans earlier mentioned.
The Ministry is prepared to make itself available regularly to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on the Security Sector in an effort to ensure greater transparency and accountability of its activities and those of the Departments that fall under its jurisdiction.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is convinced that in the spirit of compromise and accommodation, the maintenance of peace and good order in our country can be further advanced,” Rohee stated.