The task ahead for the Police Force
Guyana Chronicle
January 16, 2002

POLICE Commissioner, Mr. Floyd McDonald has said that the Police Force is to undertake a "serious" review of its operations this year with the aim of providing a better quality of service to the public.

He took over the helm of the Force late last year and has a chance to work on the obvious shortcomings that have sometimes drawn the kind of media coverage most organisations in the public eye would like to do without.

Mr. McDonald has said that key areas of focus will be better community relations, acquiring more resources, training and improving Police working conditions.

In mapping out new strategies, the ultimate objective is to make the Force more "efficient and effective", he said, adding that it will work hard to project a better image of itself.

This is a frank admission that the Police Force has a lot of work ahead if it is to be widely seen and accepted as living up to its motto of `Service and Protection'.

The Police Force cannot soften its tough stand against criminals and must continue to take the fight to those who brutally attack and rob people in their homes, business places and elsewhere. People must feel safe in their homes, at work, in their communities and everywhere else in the country and a primary function of the Police Force is to be able to afford this protection and comfort.

The Force has had to struggle against severe odds at times to maintain the rule of law and ensure that order prevails in the country and its role in this regard, with the help of the Guyana Defence Force and the other Disciplined Services, has been recognised locally and internationally.

It cannot, however, ignore the perception that not all in its ranks and officer corps play by the rules and when they deviate, there has been an unfortunate tendency to try to cover up or skirt the issues.

Groups tend to rally around and protect their own in times of trouble but the Police Force cannot afford this if it is to win the confidence of the public at large.

Mr. McDonald and his top officers have to send a clear message that deviants in the force would be firmly dealt with and cannot expect to be treated differently to civilians found guilty of crimes.

"We will strive this year to have an improvement in our relations with the public because we recognise that without the support of the public, the Police Force would not be able to achieve its mandate. And in any event, our organisation is expected to respond to the concerns and needs of the population," the Commissioner has said.

President Bharrat Jagdeo last week said the Police Force will have to do much more public relations work so that the Police are not seen as the criminals and the "bandits and crooks don't become heroes".

Criminals, thieves and crooks others of that ilk are the only ones that should fear the Police - not peaceful citizens going about their everyday business within the limits of the law.

Cops on beat duty, Traffic Police at large, Police on guard duties and out on patrols, those manning stations and performing duties around the country, and all others in service to the nation have to be held in high esteem by other citizens and not looked on with disdain.

We agree with Mr. McDonald that while there are "deviants" in the Force, in general Police officers perform their duties honourably.

"We have a bunch of committed and dedicated policemen and policewomen, who would go all out to ensure law and order is maintained," he said.

The tough task ahead is to deal with the deviants.