Feb 23, 2021 Letters
I received a posting from a friend on Facebook, bemoaning the fact that the Guyana Police Force is corrupt and in his judgement if reformation does not take place within the Force, Guyana is doomed. I readily agree with him on this one because for real progress to take place, Guyana must have an efficient and well managed force that will cater for the needs of everyone and a society that we can all feel free to live in. Because what will our society be if we are not safe or to trust the persons who swore to protect and serve us. It is like spinning tap in mud.
To emphasize his point he went on to highlight a recent robbery in the community where he lives, the details which shows the involvement of members of the police force. He contends that the robbery was too – as we would say in Guyanese parlance – “Too neat a crime” not to have had the “expert assistance” of the police. And this has been our lament ever since that is, the evidence of the corrupt activities of members of our Law Enforcement.
The lawlessness and corrupt activities of certain force members is ever present, manifesting itself in many ways, such as the use of firearms at parties to scare off enemies. I am talking about the gangster type cop who sport his service weapon at drunken parties where gunplay and other open brawls become the norm. Then there is the sickening truth of “guns for hire,” where service weapons end up in the hands of criminals who then go on to create havoc in society. All of these and more are just a few examples of the degradation that has overtaken our police force.
Now I hate to highlight faults involving force members and not make suggestions for improvement or, in its truest sense make room for a total overhaul of the force, if needs be:
1. First on our reformation list strict rules governing recruits to the force. There must be strict scrutiny of candidates for the job, I am speaking of strict guidelines akin to one going for a visa to travel to The USA. Sound background checks must be made, in addition there should be careful scrutiny of character references of the new recruits.
2. A well trained and fully equipped force with the necessary materials to do an effective job. I make mention of equipping the police with vehicles and other service hardware to do a proper job. Our police should be on the scene of a crime almost immediately and not the usual hours or even days to visit the crime scene. About such time valuable evidence would have been tampered with or the criminals making good their escape.
3. There should be room for continual upgrades of our policemen where in-service training and other staff developmental programs are used to gain additional knowledge and strategies, to be better able to deal with crime and criminals. There are also sensitive issues such as domestic violence and other spousal abuse matters where the police is called in, such matters need proper training.
4. Our policemen and women must be properly paid, I am not asking for super salaries, because this would bring in the factor of who pays the piper calls the tune, this is not what we would like to take place in our police force. The members of our force must not be paid super salaries, they must be paid comfortable salaries commensurate to other members of the public service, this will reduce the level of corruption that presently exists.
5. Academic qualifications is of utmost necessity something that must be shown at the time of entry, in this way we must ensure that we are fitted with individuals who are mentality sound to lead and not to go into the realm of mediocrity. Too often we see the rejects of society and school dropouts, persons who can only sport a birth certificate and nothing else being recruited to the force. This impedes development where a well educated and well trained force is the required objective. In this regard, our policemen must be able to write a proper report that which can withstand the test in a court of law.
6. Police officers who act as bullies to other persons in society, by carelessly threatening them with their service weapons, these should be immediately weeded out of the force. Yet others who take their service weapon to drunken parties or used for any other purposes than which it is intended should be given the marching orders.
7. There should be active and sustained police presence in crime hotspots, I am also advocating regular and sustained stop and search action, as well as surprise raids.
8. But far more important is the fact that the police force should be free from political, racial, religious or other interference factors. The police should not become tainted or used as a tool in the hand of any political party to conduct its nefarious activities. This is the dangerous road we have travelled for many years now, a force that is influenced and or one that is dictated to by a political party. This nonsense has to stop and the time is now!
The police, though paid by the state is not an organization or one at the behest of any political party, rather, the police is an organization set aside by law to do its duties unimpeded and uninterrupted by politics.
Our Police will be reformed but this can only take place when standards and norms are put in place, there should be a definite no to political influence in the force. Police must do police work and not to be a puppet of any regime, only then can we have a force well equipped to carry out its constitutional mandate. A new and reformed force in a new and enlightened Guyana is what we are all looking forward to.
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