Latest update March 29th, 2023 12:59 AM
Dec 30, 2020 Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News – There is hardly a day that there is not a report of someone being robbed or, even worse, being killed during the course of a robbery. Life has become a lottery in Guyana; if the COVID-19 doesn’t get you, the bandits will.
Citizens are at the mercy of criminals. They are helpless to do anything about it. And the police are unable to stem the incidence of crime. It is not surprising to learn that even during the pandemic, crime has escalated.
The new Home Affairs Minister is yet to detail his anti-crime strategy. But he should know that if you try to do the same things in the same way, the result will be the same.
The downfall of all of his predecessors is that they believed that they could bring about a change in the crime situation in the country. But they never sought to do so through a radical departure in approaches.
The general approach which has been adopted, year-in-year-out, day-in-day-out, has been to provide the police with more resources in the hope that they will do a better job.
The police are part of the problem and they are not likely to be part of the solution unless there is complete overhaul of the Guyana Police Force.
But that is one cat which no one wants to bell and for that reason, nothing will change.
The Guyana Police Force, as presently structured, cannot be reformed. It cannot be converted into a professional police force. The entire Force has to be dismantled and rebuilt; this will involve changing more than 80 percent of the present staff.
The Guyana Police Force has developed an internal culture, which is based on certain dysfunctional ideas. One is that the police are too powerful and are free to use that power against civilians. The police need to be made answerable for their performance of lack of it. Unless that happens, the arrogance and ignorance, which characterizes so much of police conduct will not change. Nor will corruption.
There should have already been a Commission of Inquiry into the disappearance of firearms seized by the Force. It is extremely disturbing that we live in a country in which illegal firearms are intercepted by the police and these firearms end up disappearing, no doubt into the hands of criminals. These criminals will use these weapons.
The overwhelming majority of Guyanese are law-abiding citizens. They do not flout the law. The police have never had reason to arrest them or suspect them of any criminal wrongdoing. Yet, most of these persons are victims of crime and the only reason why they have had the cause to go to a police station is to report that they have been victims of a crime.
But do not be fooled into believing that it is only a handful of persons who are committing crimes. Years ago, a flawed theory made rounds. It posited that Guyana was a criminalized state. This is not so. Guyana is a criminalized society.
Persons are stealing from others in school, in their homes, on the playfield, in farms and even at work. No one is safe anywhere in this country because of the pervasiveness of crime. That is why it is said that if COVID-19 does not get you, the bandits sure will.
The level of crime and the extent of crime is as such that it would provide a test for even a highly professional police force. This is what makes crime fighting even more difficult. Go to any police station on any day and stick around, if they let you. You will witness all manner of petty crimes being reported, including neighbour cussing out neighbour. These petty crimes are exhausting on the police.
The Minister of Home Affairs has his work cut out. It makes no sense the Minister try to reform or improve the Guyana Police Force. This is impractical since it will involve dismissing more than half of the Force.
Crime fighting has to involve a new approach. It has to be done at the level of the community. Community policing is one in which the people of the community, in partnership with the police, assume responsibility for the protection of their community. This is the only solution to the crime problem facing the country.
The Minister of Home Affairs can buy all the new vehicles, which he wants for the police, it will not make a difference. These vehicles will end up in the scrap-yard within one year. The scale of crime is too much. The Guyana Police Force is simply overwhelmed, corrupt and incompetent. It is time to privatize policing.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
You sucking the dry seed of your own mangoes, while the foreigners eating sweet flesh.
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