Police have a very difficult task To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
January 23, 2002

The position of the Police in any democratic society is not an easy or enviable one. If on the one hand there is perceived to be a high level of crime in a country, in an area of that country there is always a hue and cry that the police are not doing enough or that they collaborate with the criminals.

If on the other hand the police adopt a policy of zero tolerance or otherwise decide to get tough with the criminals we can expect cries of police brutality or extra judicial killings.

No law-abiding citizen, to my mind would condone the excessive use of force resulting in the injury, wounding or killing of any citizen who is willing to surrender peacefully to law-enforcement officers. We would expect that if this happens such police officers would be brought before an appropriate body to justify their actions or give reasonable and acceptable explanations.

In Guyana we have noted that the people who are most vociferous in their allegations of police brutality and extra-judicial killings are opposition politicians who were formerly referring to the police as their kith and kin. Some who also made the allegations have also expressed the view publicly, that the police would soon be tired of performing their lawful duties in maintaining law and order when some politicians had encouraged their supporters in a campaign to close the country down and make it ungovernable simply because they were unwilling to accept the results of general elections.

It would seem that these politicians have now embarked on a campaign that is politically motivated to discredit the Police Force and demotivate them from trying to fight crime and maintain law and order.

It is my belief also that as long as there is proof, Civil Society would support all lawful and legal steps to deal with any police officer who used excessive or unnecessary force to apprehend anyone who infringed the law.

We must not however, allow anyone to use these allegations simply so that they can gain political mileage.

With the exception of a very few, most of our policemen and women are doing a very creditable and heroic job.