With General Elections due this year, 2011 will not be an ordinary one for this country and the Guyana Police Force, said Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, yesterday. He urged police ranks to ensure that they are adequately prepared.
The Minister made the remarks yesterday while delivering the feature address at the Conference for Inspectors and Sergeants at the Police Officer’s Mess, Eve Leary. “As you are all aware, there will be General and Regional Elections in 2011. This would require the Force to be properly prepared for such an event.
“You have to ensure that you are aware of the laws relating to the duties of members of the Force during the elections period. These include the policing of political meetings to ensure that law and order are maintained.
“You should be fully aware of the Public Order Act and its requirements of you as police managers. You are required to ensure that the relevant training of your juniors is undertaken well in advance of the elections.
“Your preparations should include the provision of welfare facilities for your staff in anticipation of the extra duties that the ranks will be required to perform.
“You should not await instructions from your superiors to conduct your needs assessments for the elections. This should be done by you as part of your preparatory functions for the event.” He called on the ranks to ensure that enhanced preparations for the upcoming General Elections get underway early.
But he also expressed concern for several issues relating to the operations of the Force.
He said that while most inspectors and sergeants have been ensuring that a high degree of professionalism accompanies their work, “my Ministry has observed that far too many complaints of unacceptable and inappropriate conduct continue to be lodged at the Ministry by members of the Public.”
During the year ahead, corrective action must be taken to stamp out these tendencies.
He also challenged the ranks to ensure that there was more cooperation between the Force and citizens, since this cooperation is essential to good policing.
“One of the basic principles of Policing is that the Police are required to provide a service to the community. At the same time, the police would not be successful in the performance of their functions if the support and consent of the public are absent.
“It therefore means that there must be present in any successful policing district, a high degree of cooperation between the Police and the Community if the work of the Police is to be successful.
“As Middle Level Supervisors, you cannot be successful in your work if you remain distant from your Communities. I thus urge you to take steps to forge closer cooperation with your respective communities.”
And while noting that there has been greater support for Community Policing Groups by junior ranks of the Force, the Home Affairs Minister said that there was room for improvement.
“Complaints of non-cooperation by some junior members of the force are still being received by my Ministry. “You should also remember that it is traditional that the support of Rural Constables will be required by the Force in its overall security plan for the elections to be held during this year. You should take the opportunity this year to expand Community Policing Groups in your districts.
“At this conference, I suggest that the Commissioner of Police and his officers should have discussions with you on the issue of Neighbourhood Policing.” “This programme is critical to policing in the rural districts particularly, Rohee said. The Neighbourhood Police ranks should be allowed to work in their districts. They are now an integral part of the Force and should be supported and guided accordingly.
In Minister Rohee’s opinion, not enough work is being done at the level of Police Stations to aid in the functioning of Station Management Committees.
I am of the view that there is the need for more efforts to be made by the Inspectors and Sergeants in charge of Police Stations to enhance the work of the Station Management Committees. It must be understood that these bodies can contribute significantly to the process of forging better Police/Community relations. This is vital to your work.”
Rohee said that his Ministry recognizes the critical role the Guyana Police Force has to play in the improvement of the welfare of citizens by providing better security in all communities.
He said that the Home Affairs Ministry has taken a number of initiatives to enable the Force to achieve this goal.
They include the provision of more equipment for the technical aspects of the Force’s operations; the provision of additional Land and Water Transport to aid in patrols; the improvement of the physical facilities of the Force; the improvement of the Welfare of all ranks.
“Additionally, as you are aware, the Government of Guyana with the support of the Inter American Development Bank launched the Citizen Security Project two years ago.
“It is envisaged that as part of this project, which is ongoing, the Guyana Police Force will be modernized to meet the challenges and demands of the 21st century.”
He identified better accountability by Sergeants and Inspectors should be evident, heightened activities to reduce incidents of crime and traffic violations, and an expansion of Neighborhood Policing should be undertaken as goals that should be strived for in 2011.
Steps should be taken to ensure that allegations of corruption against ranks are reduced.
“No one would deny that you, the Sergeants and Inspectors of the Force have a critical role to play in the day to day management of the Guyana Police Force at the Level of the Police Stations and in some instances Sub Divisions.
“The extent to which you carry out your functions in a professional manner could have an effect on the way the Force is perceived by the Public.
“You are urged to use this conference to find solutions to issues and problems that you may encounter in the management of your various units and stations.”
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