Kaieteur News – The Guyana Police Force has a major problem on its hands. The Force needs to nip it in the bud early; otherwise it will undermine seriously their ability to protect the people of Guyana.
Increasingly videos are appearing of persons resisting arrest. As if this is not worrying enough, there are scores of persons egging on persons to resist arrest and abusing the police. But it gets worse. Videos are also appearing on social media of persons physically attacking the police when stopped for questioning.
One recent video showed a man coming off of his motorcycle and punching a traffic rank. He was not helmeted and thus was committing an offence. The rank was floored by the punches he received but regained his composure only to be engaged in an exchange of punches with the assailant who jumped back on his motorcycle and rode off.
There are many young men who are riding motorcycles without helmets when they are supposed to be doing so. In order to avoid being arrested or charged, in many instances the drivers of their bikes seek to confront the cops. In one instance, a Commander who sought to effect an arrest was manhandled by a motorcyclist and thrown to the ground. In April of this year, two persons were charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and behaving disorderly. In July of this year, another man was similarly charged with the same offences which allegedly took place inside of a police station. This is the level of disrespect which is being shown to the country’s law enforcement officers. The police are exposed to risks even within their own police stations.
The police are not without fault. But this does not give anyone the right to attack the police. Nor should it lead to persons resisting arrest and to be encouraging persons to disrespect the police and disobey their lawful instructions. People do have rights and those rights must be respected. But it also appears as if many persons are not aware of what the police can and cannot do. Some people mistakenly believe, for example, that the police must have a warrant in order to search your home. This is true except when it comes to a search for narcotics and guns and ammunition.
If a policeman conducts an unlawful search and in course of this unlawful act, a person resisted arrest, the court will most likely dismiss the resisting arrest charge. But the mere belief that a policeman may be unlawfully arresting you does not give you the right to resist arrest. There are redress options open to persons who have been manhandled by the police. You cannot strike out at the police first and then claim self-defence. If on the other hand, you the police uses excessive brutality is arresting you, you would have strong grounds for acting in self-defence. However, it is always advisable to cooperate first with the police and to complain afterwards.
The best way to deal with police situations is to comply with the police orders even if you are not in agreement. You can always file a complaint. But seeking to prevent the police from doing their job can lead to a charge of resisting arrest. The present trend of aggression towards the police has noticeably increased following mass protests in the United States and Europe over excessive use of force by the police. This has led in those countries to a spate of incidents in which people continue to question police actions and to resist arrests. In the United States, there are daily reports now of persons being charged with resisting arrest. It is becoming a social epidemic.
Law and order is going to crumble and the entire population of the country will be at the mercy of criminal elements and bullies. This must not be allowed to happen. The police must regain control of their remit and take action to stem the sort of disrespect that is being shown to many of its ranks. The Guyana Police Force has to take this situation in hand. Otherwise, it will spiral out of control and some persons will feel that they are untouchables, can break the law with impunity and not be arrested.
(The views expressed in this articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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