Details of proposed reorganisation of police
Stabroek News
February 5, 2002

Dear Editor

Following my recommendations [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] on the decentralisation of police services, I give hereunder the specifics of the new model. In my final letter I intend to deal specifically with the formation of a Georgetown Police Department. The hope is that these letters will generate some discussion on the way forward for crime prevention.

Quite clearly, the existing model is out of step with the increased sophistication of crime and fails to maximize the available resources to prevent, detect and prosecute crime. Its reliance on the less than effective hierarchical system of management that stymies decision-making at crucial times, restricting it to unmanageably high levels of organization, continues to identify with the levels of less than acceptable efficiency.

The Guyana Department of Public Safety should be the governing body charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating efforts against crime in Guyana. It should comprise the following:

The Guyana Bureau of Investigation
The Guyana State Patrol
The Office of Road Safety
The Criminal Justice Co-ordinating Council
The department would essentially replace the Guyana Police Force and be organized as detailed hereafter.
The Guyana Bureau of Investigation (GBI)

This is a critical arm of the GDPS that supports enforcement efforts and links with the CJCC in the prosecution of crimes. It should have at its helm a Director with substantial experience in law enforcement, special investigative techniques, and a solid background in the administration of a bureau or similar body of investigative disciplines. Under his/her command should fall:

A Division of Forensic Sciences - This division should be responsible for the scientific support of the criminal justice system. They should directly collect, analyze and interpret all aspects of physical evidence for officers, investigators and prosecuting attorneys throughout the country. This multi-disciplined group of technicians and specialists forms the basis of expert testimony in court and at their laboratory develop protocol for the secure chain of custody and preservation of evidence.

The Guyana Crime Information Center - This division serves as the chief provider of criminal justice information services across the country. They should retain the primary responsibility for the collation of information from select government agencies in a network of databases and be prepared to share in the international efforts to control crime. Most importantly, it should maintain an accurate database of criminal history including criminal histories and fingerprints of all criminals resident in Guyana (including deportees).

The Investigative Division - These are the foot soldiers of the GBI and should represent a body of highly trained men and women. They should be organized to tackle issues of capital offences, vice, organized crime, money laundering, drug enforcement, and general investigations. They should be prepared to assist other agencies in the areas of homicide, rape, child abuse, armed robbery, fraud, and other felonies.

A Deputy Director should command all these divisions. Significant funding would be necessary in order to have this bureau become a reality. The start-up costs for fixed assets, infrastructure and international human resources for training and implementation, would be substantial and may require funding.

The Guyana State Patrol (GSP)

The GSP is the critical patrol element of the GDPS that allows it to return the crime-fighting effort to its basic role, in order to prevent and deter crime, and enforce the laws of the country. In my opinion, this body should be organized along military lines and draw a significant portion of its human resources from a pool of military-trained personnel, to be firmly schooled and transitioned to the role of law enforcement. The GSP should be led by a Director in the rank of Colonel, supported by a Troop Commanding Officer (Lt. Colonel) and a Special Operations Detachment, also commanded by a Lt. Colonel.

The Troop should be the primary patrol arm that is organized as follows:

* Demerara Detachment - Commanded by a Major with assets to support four troops of twenty in designated patrol modes to suit their environment.

* Berbice Detachment - Commanded by a Major with assets to support four troops of twenty in designated patrol modes to suit their environment.

* Interior Operations - Commanded by a Major with assets to support four troops of twenty in designated patrol modes to suit their environment.

* Executive Security - Their role supplants that of the Special Branch for close executive protection of the President, Prime Minister and visiting dignitaries. It should be commanded by a Major with assets to support three troops of twenty in designated patrol modes to suit their environment. The ceremonial outrider element would also be a responsibility of this arm of the Troop.

The Special Operations Detachment should be organized to provide:

* Nationwide communications support for the GSP through a troop of twenty trained technicians. They should be commanded by a Major and be cross-trained to match other key disciplines of the GSP.

* A Special Operations arm that is highly trained and geared to respond to special circumstances that require the tactical, surgical and appropriate use of deadly force within the strict confines of the law. This should consist of two troops of twenty commanded by a Major.

* A Special Operations Support arm comprising two troops of twenty officers organized as Emergency Support Units (ESU) providing technical equipment and specialist support across the country. Their cross-discipline should be in the controlled disposal of explosive ordnance.

The Criminal Justice Co-ordinating Council
This council should be tasked with the provision of nationwide leadership to co-ordinate, intensify and make more effective the components of the criminal justice system at all levels of government. A senior member of the Judiciary should chair its Executive Committee. Other committees should include:
* A Crime Control and System Improvement Advisory Committee
* A Crime Victims Assistance Advisory Committee
* A Crime Victims Compensation Board
* A Statistical Analysis Center Committee
* A Criminal Justice Records Improvement Committee
* A Correctional Planning Committee
* An Administrative Rules Committee

These committees provide oversight to the various agencies in the criminal justice system in order to achieve uniformity, conformity and relevance of their actions.

The Office of Road Safety

A competent officer, charged with the mission of providing road safety data, should direct this office and generate fact based analyses that will assist communities and safety advocates in implementing programs that will change high-risk driving behavior and increase safety on the streets and highways. This must necessarily include the education of the public on road safety issues and facilitate the implementation of programs that reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on Guyana's roadways.

Programs should include (but not limited to):

* Zero Tolerance
* DUI Checkpoints
* Speed Traps
* Occupant Protection
* General Public Education
The final instalment on the Georgetown Police Department follows.

Yours faithfully,
Merrill Hyman Sr.