SWAT team members to undergo training
Stabroek News
October 22, 2002

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The police force has identified those of its members who will undergo training to form the nucleus of the new Crack Crime Force (CCF), which will be established along the line of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.

The team is to be trained by the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police, whose officers have already been here for initial discussions with the Police Force.

At a press conference on Friday, Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj said that the team of trainers would be here once the required weaponry and associated equipment has been obtained.

The establishment of the CCF team is part of the menu of measures announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo on June 7 to address the present wave of crime which has generated fear and anxiety in the society.

The members of the CCF along with other police ranks and law enforcement officers are to be exposed on a continuous basis to modern anti-crime tactics, strategies and leadership at a specialised training centre being established on land identified on the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.

Sources close to the Police have told Stabroek News that the necessary logistical work required for the acquisition and preparation of the site is already in progress.

Commenting on the announcement by President Bharrat Jagdeo of the government's intention to acquire helicopters for the Police, Gajraj on Friday said that the intention is to set up an Air Wing together with the revitalisation of the Marine Branch. Gajraj described these new moves as capacity building to boost the Police's crime fighting efforts.

However, sources tell Stabroek News that the Ministry and Police top brass are yet to give detailed attention to the identification and training of the personnel required for this new section of the Force.

Stabroek News understands that the cost of the helicopters range from US$0.5 million to as much as US$7 million.

Home Affairs Ministry sources have told Stabroek News that the budgetary proposals have already been prepared and advertisements in the local media should be placed shortly inviting applications from suitable persons to join the department.

The armoured cars, said to cost in the region of US$22,000 -US$29,000, the sources say, are likely to be part of the armoury of the SWAT teams, depending on their configuration. The personnel to operate these vehicles will also have to be trained.

Gajraj did not disclose the details of the planned improvements of the marine branch of the Police Force. The main unit of the marine branch is located at Ruimveldt but boats, equipped for riverain patrols are stationed at New Amsterdam, Springlands, Bartica, Charity, Leguan, Linden, Parika and at a number of interior locations.

Stabroek News understands that repairs are to be done to the buildings and a number of engines have been or are being acquired. The personnel attached to the Marine Branch received specialised training conducted by the Police and the Transport and Harbours Department. The coxswains for the boats are certified by the Transport and Harbours Department before they are put in charge of the police boats.