Former cop lauds Force, appeals for better conditions, says...
Police attitude manifests societal lawlessness

By Shirwin Campbell
Guyana Chronicle
September 23, 2003

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The negative attitude of some members of the Guyana Police Force is a manifestation of the lawlessness of the wider society, Executive Secretary of the Impact Based Community Policing Group, Mr. Winston Saunders, informed members of the Disciplined Services Commission (DFC) at the Law Court Library yesterday.

Mr. Saunders who served in the Guyana Police Force for a number of years before migrating to the United States, returned to Guyana and joined the Community Policing Group as his contribution to the development of the nation.

He said he was appalled when he returned to Guyana and witnessed the perverse lawlessness in society, and pointed out that it is from this culture we recruit and train our policemen, yet expect them to be different from society. That's not realistic, he said.

He issued a call for change to start from the kindergarten level to change the looseness of society, which has also infiltrated the Guyana Police Force.

He was however quick to point out that the members of the Guyana Police Force have performed excellently given their limited resources.

Commenting on the conditions in the lock-up facilities, he explained that if the policemen are working in poor conditions then they will be oblivious to the conditions under which persons are detained.

He also related that a recent visit to the Tactical Service Unit (TSU) revealed broken furniture, dirty conditions and deplorable sanitary facilities that were so upsetting he was unable to eat for that day.

He called for an increase in salary starting from around $50,000 and informed the commissioners that compensation to family of those who died in the line of duty must be $10M.

The use of non lethal weapons, namely rubber bullets and devises that can temporarily incapacitate, should replace the lethal weapons used to apprehend citizens and policemen should at least be given a fridge among other conveniences when on duty.

A better harmonious working relationship between the Guyana Police Force and the Community Policing Groups must be achieved. Mr. Saunders also suggested that a law be passed so that businessmen will contribute to a fund for the up-keeping of the Guyana Police Force.

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