Police can only release information when it is prudent to do so
Stabroek News
April 19, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Once again, Merrill Hyman Sr. has submitted another well written letter captioned "Guyana Police Force should recognize that the measures employed so far are ineffective" (17/4/2002). However, a few points must be made.

First, the writer seems to want to suggest that there is a "... glaring absence of sound intelligence gathering..." On the contrary, it is the intelligence capability of the police which indicates whether or not it should release what kind of information to the public. Make no mistake, those who are concerned with this responsibility are highly skilled and competent to manage it.

As was indicated, it is not quite reasonable to conclude that a deliberate decision by the Police not to publicise its plan means a lack of one. There is a plan. Even so, the force has been releasing timely and pertinent information via the media to keep the public apace with its operations. But it must do so carefully, prudently and sensibly guided by its intelligence.

Again, Merrill Hyman makes the same mistake in his statement about the law officers, who were killed by criminal elements... "The GPF is finding it difficult to protect its own members, much less the general public. The public has a right therefore to be concerned and the media the duty to reflect this concern. The results speak for themselves and it is evident that the GPF is reacting rather than displaying or employing proactive measures to pre-empt, prevent and control criminal activity."

But it could not be concluded that because two members of the law enforcement arm of the state were gunned down the force is finding it difficult to protect its own and by extension the public. Would Mr Hyman say the same thing of the police of the developed countries, where lawmen were killed by the bullets of criminals, even though they are more equipped with the most modern sophisticated weapons and have better protective gear and communication facilities? Would he say the same thing of the police of Jamaica, whose members are sought after and in quite a few cases killed by criminals? A comparative analysis would show that, inspite of the difficult circumstances and other problems, the Guyana Police Force has been performing credibly. But modernization or not, no security agency in the world can, at all times, preempt the actions of people who have an agenda beyond civil reasoning. Otherwise we would not have witnessed some of the most barbaric and uncivilised events in the world.

Finally, the last paragraph of the letter is inaccurate. The Guyana Police Force has always valued its relationship with local communities. This is why it has been encouraging Community Policing and allied activities. This is why too the Commissioner of Police has scheduled a series of meetings with critical stakeholders to establish a strong partnership aimed at promoting law and order.

We respect the views of Mr Merrill Hyman, as we do with every other citizen, but this could not inhibit us from striking the balance whenever and whereever needed. No member of the Force is beyond criticism but this must be done, or at least appear to be done, in the context of fairness and accuracy.

Yours faithfully,

Royston King,

Public Relations Consultant

Guyana Police Force