The troubles of the police force seem to be piling up.
This time the attention is focused on millions of dollars that are allocated to pay informants.
Over time, according to police officials, there have been funds allocated for the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of each division, the Fraud Squad, Narcotics and the Major Crimes Unit.
For the divisions, there is at least $20,000 allocated to each of the seven CID offices. The Narcotics division has a little more- about $100,000.
Crime Chief, Lyndon Alves, would also be allowed about $100,000 too.
However, from all indications for several months now, there have been difficulties in accessing those funds.
According to police sources, the money was collected by a senior police official at Eve Leary and ranks who wanted money to pay informants were told to approach that senior officer directly.
“What we know is that our people were affected because nobody wanted to go ask him directly. If fact, we are being told the money was collected for the other divisions as well and not handed over.”
Monthly, the money added up to over $300,000.
This latest news of informants, or snitch money as it is called, would follow that there is a full fledged probe ongoing at the police Finance Department for alleged fraud.
That investigation is not over yet, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan disclosed last week. Reportedly, cheques to the tune of millions of dollars were encashed to make questionable payments.
These developments would come, too, as the police’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) started a probe recently into damning allegations made by whistle-blowing cops from Berbice.
The policemen, including detectives, are accusing senior and junior ranks, of organized criminal activities using the force’s resources.
It was alleged that policemen were providing security for drug shipments; taking bribes to duck cases and even payments to kill a rank who was testifying in court in a drug matter.
It was reported that a bandit, hours before he and two gang members were hunted down and killed in the Corentyne backlands after a string of brazen Berbice robberies, had called a senior police officer in the city a number of times.
It would tie in with what the whistle-blowing cops alleged that police ranks and seniors were providing protection for criminals in Berbice.
In fact, residents claim that policemen would openly be seen drinking with known criminals.
The allegations had rocked Berbice as it was not one cop alone who spoke to reporters, but several of them. They all said they were tired of the situation.
Last week, a number of the whistleblowers refused to give statements to the OPR saying they were not confident of being protected.
The allegations are hugely embarrassing for the Coalition Government.
Last Monday, the Crime Chief, who is also a Deputy Commissioner and who performs the duty of the Commissioner of Police, Leslie James, when he is out, was sent on leave to accommodate the probe the OPR.
Alves and three other Deputy Commissioners were sworn in last August as part of a plan to reform the police force, which over the years have taken a public beating for its success in the crime fight and known corruption.
There were questions last week also about how detectives were being shifted around with allegations that a number of them, who were placed in strategic CID locations, had questionable track records.
Last week, the police force, which did not issue any statements on the Crime Chief being sent on leave, was critical of the reporting.
“The Guyana Police Force notes with concern the recent flurry of articles in the media aimed at the administration of the organization. These articles seem to suggest a culture and practice of nonchalance, cover-up and victimization within the Police Force, with the apparent aim of influencing the public negatively towards the Force in general and more specifically sullying the image of the senior administration.”
The police administration said it has utmost respect for freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution but the misrepresentation being peddled necessitates perspicuity.
Referring to one article on Thursday in Kaieteur News, under the heading “Handpicked appointments of several CID detectives highly questionable—Whistleblowers”, the police force said the article completely or rather deliberately obliterates the part of the records that reveal efficiency, commitment, effectiveness and crime solving capacity of the ranks.
“It ignores the concept of vindication or in some instances, redemption. However, not withstanding these articles and the misleading views, the administration of the Guyana Police Force remains resolutely committed to its motto “Service and Protection” for all in the maintenance of public safety and also commits to the welfare and continued enhancement and development of its ranks, without exception.”
Minister Ramjattan last week insisted he has full confidence in OPR, a police arm, being able to investigate the allegations.
The Opposition and Berbice businesses had called for an independent probe.
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