Police should cultivate new relationship with public

Stabroek News
January 11, 2003

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The police force should take advantage of the growing sympathy over police killings to cultivate a new relationship with the public, says the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA).

The GHRA in a press release yesterday suggested the force should devise far more vigorous campaigns to get their messages across and notes that present methods of communication are reduced to information about wanted persons and confrontations with criminals.

While substantial funding has been made available to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for the campaign against crime, the GHRA urged that significant funding and professional services also be made available to the force to develop in citizens a more positive attitude with respect to how they might co-operate.

“A good starting point for rehabilitating community relations with the GPF would be an imaginative and well-publicised discussion led by the GPF on the new community relations strategy. The GHRA believes a well-presented effort in this direction would meet with considerable positive responses from the community at large”, the press release said.

Expressing condolences to the GPF and the families of officers slain in the line of duty over the past year, the GHRA says the attacks on policemen point clearly to a planned and concerted campaign to destroy the force. The association states that the attacks were political and criminal in nature and needed a political resolution. The political impasse, together with the limited success of the Joint Services throws more responsibility, in a strange reversal of roles, on citizen-based efforts to protect the police.

In terms of providing confidential information, the GPF must convince citizens it is safe to provide information by well-publicised and anonymous methods. The better the relations with the community, less dependence on anonymous methods would be necessary.

While overt hostility towards members of the public was reducing, there was still sufficient disrespectful behaviour by some policemen to hamper effective cooperation.

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