Bandits' sophisticated arms put cops at disadvantage - Luncheon
Stabroek News
June 7, 2002

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The police are at a disadvantage in facing bandits who have vastly superior firepower and this, according to Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon, is a disturbing shift in the power relations between the police and the citizen.

He told reporters at Wednesday's post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President that the situation had to be addressed as it could affect policemen's morale and their commitment and involvement in discharging their responsibilities.

Luncheon pointed out that the specially trained and armed anti-crime unit is not the norm for the police force as a whole.

He said that 90 per cent of them are armed sometimes only with a pistol or a baton and at times some are unarmed.

As a consequence they would probably not be "unmindful [that] facing them today is a dedicated grouping of escapees and their followers who have targeted the police with weapons which you might consider combat weapons; not the kind of things that the regular police walk around with.

"They impact on the psychology of policemen who now they have to consider that [in] an engagement they may be at a disadvantage which is an extremely disturbing, you might say, alteration in the normal power relation between police and civilian."

The Cabinet Secretary conceded that the police stations were vulnerable, explaining that in some cases they were in the midst of the community like the one at Kitty and as such were not as secure as a military facility which is isolated from the community within which it is located.

He said that the stations were built in an era when there was no thought that they would be attacked.

A policeman was killed two Thursdays ago in an assault by criminals on the Alberttown Police Station.