Crime scene kits to modernise police work

Stabroek News
March 5, 1998

State-of-the-art forensic kits presented to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) will allow for the use of modern technology in the apprehension and prosecution of criminals.

The kits, valued US$24,000, were handed over by United States Ambassador to Guyana, James Mack, to Commissioner of Police, Laurie Lewis, yesterday at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary. They were a donation from the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) of the US.

Mack explained that the transportable crime scene kits, which include fingerprinting equipment, were designed to aid police in locating and identifying criminals using the evidence available at the scene of the crime.

"Using the most modern technology, police will be able to step up their efforts to not only locate criminals, but to prosecute them and see that they wind up behind bars," said Mack.

He noted that there was a long-standing joint effort between the US and Guyana to improve public safety here. He said he was proud that ICITAP had been able to cooperate with the GPF in this effort.

Mack said that ICITAP had been involved in the development of investigative techniques, management techniques and instructor training in Guyana since 1990. He added that through Lewis's genuine commitment to training for improved performance, the US and Guyana had jointly cooperated on more than 14 ICITAP-sponsored anti-crime training seminars and technical assistance programmes. Eighty-four members of the GPF were trained through these programmes. These include nine officers who had attended the US Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. Two more officers were identified to attend the academy this year.

The organisation has also donated crime scene kits, a video camera, a felon finder fingerprint system, computer software and equipment and other supplies to assist the work of the forensic pathologist.

Further guidelines for the Office of Professional Responsibility were also handed over. According to Mack, the GPF and ICITAP began the process of establishing this office last year to monitor and ensure police adherence to the rule of law. He contended that an office such as this was as important in the fight against crime as the forensic kits and other technology.

Mack noted that being a police officer was a tough and often thankless job. However, he said, it was a job that had to be done right with dedication to service and the highest level of professionalism.

"The Office of Professional Responsibility will provide a mechanism for police to monitor their own, and for police officers most of whom display such dedication and professionalism day in and day out to apply and maintain these high standards to all police officers," he said.

Mack said that the kits, along with the Office of Professional Responsibility, would ensure that 'Guyana's finest' remained up to date with internationally accepted standards of crime-fighting professionalism.

He said that democracy relied on the rule of law, and law enforcement was necessary to democracy. He said that was the reason why the US had made assistance to the police force a key component in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Lewis thanked the ambassador for the gifts and for referring to the police as Guyana's "finest". He also referred to the good relationship with ICITAP over the years. He said that it was reported that 120 crimes were solved using ICITAP equipment. According to Lewis, the police were only seen for what they did not do and for areas they were not so good in. He cautioned that people should not think that with the acquisition of the equipment all the crimes would be solved immediately. The commissioner noted that these were challenging times.

In a message to the critics of the GPF, Lewis said that no-one achieved 100 per cent all the time. He spoke of the long hours some police officers worked in their bid for professionalism.

Crime Chief Floyd McDonald who chaired the handing over ceremony said that past donations by ICITAP had significantly boosted the crime fighting capabilities of the GPF.