McDonald praises work of Community Policing Groups By Shirley Thomas
Guyana Chronicle
June 10, 2002

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Acting Commissioner of Police Floyd McDonald, has praised highly the work of the Community Policing Groups, and has asserted that he is satisfied citizens are fully supportive of the Police Force and its work.

I am convinced that law-abiding citizens in this country are fully behind the Police Force in its efforts to deal with crime and other criminal activities in this country,” Mr McDonald said.

He said the Guyana Police Force continues to look forward to community support in its efforts at providing quality service to this country. He added: “Without the support of the community, our task would be very difficult.”

The Acting Commissioner expressed these sentiments as he addressed the Seventh National Community Policing Executive Conference and Annual General Meeting held at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary yesterday. The conference was held under the theme “Towards a Safer Society for All.”

Expressing confidence that the Police Force has the backing of the wider society, the top Cop said: “If we did not have public support, the situation in this country would have been far worse. My view is that the entire nation is fully behind the Police Force, except for probably a few (persons).”

He was of the view that the positive impact of Community Policing on the society cannot be denied. “Over the years we have been able to enhance our policing operations with selfless and dedicated service provided by our Community Policing Groups throughout this country,” Mr McDonald stated.

Alluding to the recent death of Constable Andy Atwell who was gunned down in the line of duty at the Alberttown Police Station, the Commissioner lauded the efforts of the groups and the personal sacrifices made by members in an effort to protect communities.

&#xConstable Andy Atwell paid the supreme sacrifice on the 30th of May, when he was brutally gunned down by bandits at Alberttown Police Station,” the Commissioner said, adding that Atwell was at the Station at that time supporting the Community Policing efforts.

Mr McDonald said that in addition to a wreathe-laying ceremony the Police would be initiating at Force headquarters during the month of July, the Force also intends to launch a project at the Alberttown Police Station in memory of the slain cop.

We cannot afford to let the sacrifice made by Atwell go unnoticed,” he stated.

At a national level, he said that members of the Community Policing Groups continue to support the Guyana Police Force in a big way. There are 353 Community Policing Groups around the country.

The Force has embraced the concept of Community Policing since 1976, and from then on, has seen a number of changes, which reflect the dynamic nature of society and Policing.

Addressing concerns raised over the years about compensation, protective gear among others, the Commissioner advised that efforts are currently underway to deal with such problems.

The Commissioner gratefully acknowledged a promise made by President Bharrat Jagdeo of further financial and other support by the Government to Community Policing Groups in particular.

And at yesterday’s meeting, Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, also pledged $160,000 to match what that body now has on the bank. The Commissioner indicated that with this support, the process of partnership between the Police Force and the community would be further enhanced, using Community Policing Groups as conduits.

The Acting Commissioner pointed out: “The time has come for some societal elements to stop using the Anti-Crime Task Force as scapegoats and indicate their real intentions. If persons have personal problems with individual members of the Force, they should seek legal redress. The Courts are there for that. The rule of law must prevail.”

Mr McDonald continued: “We in the Police Force are members of a professional organisation with a clear mandate. We will continue to carry out our mandate according to law. We will not for one moment fledge from our responsibilities.”

Pledging the full support of the Force to the Community Policing body, the Commissioner concluded by expressing the hope that the relationship between them would be deepened.

At the forum there were also awards presented to members of the Community Policing body. Three plaques won by the Guyana Community Policing body for Honourable Mention at the level of the Caribbean Association of Community Policing Groups were presented to Assistant Superintendent Ramnarine, Inspector Frank Stewart and Station Sergeant Lloyd Thomas.