The policeman must understand his role
Stabroek News
April 15, 2002

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Dear Editor,

A policeman is a public servant and he has a duty towards the state and the people.

He should be regarded as a friend of the public because of the very nature of his duties - to serve and protect this nation and to aid prevention and detection of crime.

It is essential that he understand his role in this society and always strive to maintain law and order and that he appreciate the immense powers vested in him and that he also is subject to the law. A good cop must learn to exercise some restraint in the execution of his duties and avoid being accused of abusing his authority and his office. In times when he is called to intervene in a crime, care must be taken by him to ensure he does not use more force than is necessary. The use of excessive force can only cause a negative public reaction and can eventually lead to the alienation of people.

He should at all times demonstrate some measure of respect and pride for the uniform he proudly wears and be forever conscious of his interaction with the public. Once he conducts himself in a manner that is above board and pleasing in the sight of many, the people whom he serves will applaud and praise him, because they can be satisfied when justice is done. Citizens as a rule will feel secure and comfortable knowing there is a police presence and that this particular public servant is dependable in the execution of his duties.

The average person has great expectations about the rudiments of the law and demands to be treated by the police in a fair manner. In order to foster good public relations, he must demonstrate a willingness to assist those persons with genuine concerns with a view to alleviating their burdens.

One of his functions is to keep the peace and not be a contributor to lawlessness and chaos. It is necessary for the Guyana Police Force to create a congenial and friendly atmosphere with the public which will enable them to have a frequent and cordial exchange of information and views, thus simplifying their arduous tasks.

If, on the other hand, a policeman is regarded as a foe by the citizens, he would have failed in his undertaking as a peace officer and does not deserve to wear the Guyana Police Force's uniform. He clearly does not understand the motto 'Service and Protection'. He sees himself not as a servant of the people and would have demonstrated scant regard for the oath taken as a peace officer. Such an individual will always fancy himself above the law and will often be guilty of abusing his powers.

This breed of policeman fails to appreciate his role in society and to conduct himself in an upright and respectful manner befitting the uniform he proudly wears. He portrays a bad example in the way he treats persons who seek his assistance and understanding in exercising justice and fairplay. This can only serve to further alienate the public who will become uncomfortable and generally dissatisfied.

Yours faithfully,

Andre Cush