Sourcing of vehicles, weapons for Police Force under way
Guyana Chronicle
July 17, 2002

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has announced that the Internet is being used to source equipment and vehicles for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to boost its crime fighting capabilities.

He explained that this method is being used to expedite the process because the open tender process will delay acquiring the vitally needed equipment and vehicles.

In an interview with Editor of the TV `Prime News' programme, Mr. Adam Harris, the President explained: "They have been negotiating via the Internet because if you go to an open tender, it would take a very long time and we need a lot of things now."

In relation to protective gear for policemen President Jagdeo said that Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, Acting Police Commissioner, Mr. Floyd McDonald and Commissioner-designate, Mr. Winston Felix are working on obtaining the body armour protection.

On the establishment of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, President Jagdeo said international help is being sought in this regard and details of the recruitment training of the team are to be finalised.

In the wake of a dramatic upsurge of violent crimes, the President last month announced a menu of measures to counter the situation.

It was decided by the President and the Joint Services that a comprehensive approach is necessary to deal with the crime wave, which is not only evident in Guyana.

Some of the initiatives of the comprehensive approach announced by the President were:

** The immediate release of $100M to the GPF to improve its weaponry, protective equipment and gear, transportation and communication facilities. This sum is in addition to the capital budgetary allocation.

** An identical sum in 2003 and 2004 in addition to the GPF's capital budget to upgrade weaponry and equipment.

** A comprehensive reform of the intelligence sector to strengthen intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination, to support the fight against crime, narcotics trafficking, and threats to internal security is being instituted. This will be accompanied by improvements in the investigative capacity of the Criminal Investigation Department.

** The establishment of a specialised training centre where Police ranks and other enforcement officers would be exposed on a continuous basis to modern anti-crime tactics and methods and leadership skills, particularly in the use of modern weapons, will now be a feature of the standard training programme of all law enforcement personnel.

** A special force along the lines of a "SWAT" team will be set up to complement the existing unit. A large group of specially trained officers and ranks will form this task force and will respond mainly to the new forms of criminal activities.

** A complete review of existing legislation on crime. This is intended to complement the introduction of new laws and to tighten existing penalties for criminal activities and to make prosecution and conviction of criminals easier.

** Community Policing Groups will benefit immediately from the creation of a dedicated unit within the Office of the Commissioner of Police, for which adequate funding will be provided.

** Legislation will be introduced to provide closer monitoring of certain categories of deportees.

** The issuances of gun licences to qualified citizens will be speeded up, especially for the business community.

** An enhanced welfare package for law enforcement personnel will be provided to meet occupational risks. The sum of $20M will be immediately placed in a fund to be controlled by the Police Force for the dependents of Policemen and women who are killed in encounters with criminals. Additionally, annual allocations will be made to the fund. One million dollars will be provided immediately to each of the families of the Law Enforcement Officers killed in the recent crime wave.

According to the President, a task force to see the implementation of these measures was to be established. (GOVERNMENT INFORMATION AGENCY)