Dec 01, 2008 News
Force will take care of slain cop expenses plus give one million
When Constable Oslen Glasgow donned his bullet proof vest to go and confront criminals on the Cromarty Foreshore last Friday, he must have felt that at least he was partly protected.
He may have known that he would be coming up against dangerous criminals armed with the deadly AK-47 assault rifle.
However, his vest was no match for the powerful weapon. The bullet pierced the armour and resulted in Glasgow’s death.
It is not clear how far from the criminals Glasgow was; but, according to experts, it could not have been any more than 300 metres.
His death now raises the question of the quality of armour that police ranks are equipped with, given the fact that the security forces are aware that criminals are armed with assault rifles. Gone are the days when the .32 revolver was the weapon of choice for bandits.
Following the Bartica massacre, in which three policemen were killed, Police Commissioner Henry Greene had chided his ranks for not utilizing the protective gear that was provided for them.
But in light of the recent demise of Constable Glasgow, there is every reason for ranks to feel less protected when coming up against criminals the likes of the late Rondell Rawlins, James Gibson and Cliff Chichester.
“Most of the vests are just good enough to resist the impact of the 9mm calibre bullet,” a senior police officer, who is said to be an expert on firearms, told this newspaper.
He explained that a 7.62 x 39 round of ammunition, used in the AK-47, will penetrate most bullet proof vests directly from 200 metres.
He added that after 300 metres the bullet will begin to lose its velocity.
“There is no guarantee of safety with a vest when coming up against an AK-47,” the expert said.
According to the expert, bullet proof vests come in three levels. He said that the police previously sourced equipment from the crown agent in London, England, but for some strange reason, this arrangement was shelved.
“Those people who are procuring these items are sacrificing safety for cheapness. The current thinking in the administration is reflective of the type of shoes and clothing that are being acquired,” he said.
He opined that the ‘cop’ who was shot by Magistrate Gordon Gilhuys may have been killed had he been wearing a vest.
He explained that because he was not wearing a vest, the bullet exited his body.
“If he was wearing a vest, maybe it would have slowed down the bullet, and it would have been lodged in the policeman’s body, and this could have been more dangerous,” the officer explained.
Kaieteur News understands that British experts who were in Guyana conducting training for police ranks had recommended a certain type of bullet proof vests.
However, only the ranks of the Joint Services Operating Group – JSOG — are outfitted with high quality vests, but according to the expert, even those are no match for an assault rifle at a certain distance.
According to a senior police official, the force had resorted to fitting steel plates in some of the vests to make them more acceptable for crime fighting.
“For some stranger reason, the ranks felt it was too heavy to carry around on a 12-hour shift, and some of them took it out,” the police officer said.
But whatever the consequences, no one said that crime fighting was a safe job, and there are instances when no matter how much one is equipped, there is always the possibility of injury or death.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Police Force will stand all expenses relating to the funeral of the late Constable Glasgow. A senior Government official confirmed that his relatives will receive the customary $1M offered by Government when a policeman is killed in the line of duty.
But some critics are challenging the Government to increase the figure, since in today’s current economic situation, it is quite inadequate.
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