Regular police ranks are urging the Ministry of Home Affairs to re-examine the Neighbourhood Police arrangement, claiming that it is undermining the integrity of the various police stations it serves.
Neighbourhood Police is a concept that was introduced by the PPP/C Administration a few years ago. It involves the employment of civilians to work in their communities and providing a sort of a back up to the regular police ranks.
Their main role is to gather information and relay them to the police to ensure that their communities are free of criminal activities.
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee had said that an expanded physical presence of Neighbourhood Police on the ground for the purpose of information gathering and crime prevention could go a far way toward preventing and reducing domestic violence and child abuse.
For the main part, the arrangement appeared to be working but according to well placed police sources, the plan is now working in the opposite.
Regular police ranks have complained that the Neighbourhood Police are breaching the confidentiality of the stations they are serving.
“People now frighten to make reports because these Neigbbourhood Police are going back and tell the perpetrators. A lady call me the other day and ask me if they were in the station because she wanted to report something in the village, but she had to make sure that they (NP) were nor around,” a frustrated police rank told this newspaper.
On December 31, last, Minister Rohee disclosed a total of 312 Neighbourhood Police are now serving in six Police Divisions.
He lauded their work and urged them to continue their efforts in helping to curb the growing incidence of crime in Guyana.
This did not amuse the regular police ranks who claimed that since the Minister lauded the work of the NPs, he is obviously not aware of the situation.
Neighbourhood Police ranks are paid almost the same as a regular constable and enjoy almost the same benefits, including annual Leave, Passage Allowance and the one month extra salary at the end of the year.
Their actual job is to go out into the communities with specific instructions as to the area they are supposed to work; they also serve summons and in some cases gather information.
“The police cannot be everywhere all the time so the NPs are supposed to assist in this area,” a Police Sergeant explained.
However, in most cases the NPs use their time to conduct their personal business much to the annoyance of regular ranks who are closely monitored by their supervisors.
“Imagine a day I was going to town on official business and I butt up with a NP, done tek off she uniform and going to town, too, on she own business,” the sergeant told this newspaper.
In early 2013 the Ministry of Home Affairs had launched an intense campaign to recruit NPs in keeping with the Ministry’s intention to increase the numbers who patrol neighbourhoods round the clock, particularly by day, since the Police do not have the numbers to patrol on foot in each village day and night.
Under the arrangement, the NPs are not supposed to be stuck in the station doing actual police work.
But according to regular ranks, they should be in the station and assist the police thereby freeing up other ranks to actually respond to reports.
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