Police target revamping public image
Guyana Chronicle
April 29, 2004

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`The attitude of policemen on duty on the road and when in contact with members of the public at the various police stations, was identified as an area for immediate scrutiny and corrective action’ – conference statement

SEVERAL decisions were taken at the just concluded annual Police Officers’ Conference including the unanimous decision to change the name of the Guyana Police Force to the Guyana Police Service.

According to a statement from the GPF on the outcome of the three-day conference which ended Sunday at the Police Officers’ Mess, Eve Leary, the decision to change the name is expected to reflect the fact that the organisation will embark on “serving the people of Guyana by delivering quality of service”.

The statement said this was a unanimous decision by participants at the conference which was attended by 128 officers between the ranks of Deputy Commissioners and Cadet Officers, under the theme ‘Restoring our image through honesty, integrity, effective public relations and efficient public service’.

During the deliberations the officers explored avenues to promote continuous improvement in their work and thereby uplift the image of the Police.

The conference recognised that higher priorities be placed on generating appropriate intelligence, confront and engage the fight against illegal drugs and unlawful possession and trafficking in arms and ammunition.

It was noted that much concern was expressed at the conference about the force’s inability to retrieve promptly, relevant records to support interaction activities. As such, consideration is being given to computerise the system, the statement said.

Revamping the public image of the force also attracted deliberate consideration.

“The attitude of Policemen on duty on the road and when in contact with members of the public at the various police stations, was identified as an area for immediate scrutiny and corrective action,” it said.

The conference also felt challenged to eliminate the ongoing irritants of loud and abusive noise especially from amplified stereo equipment and the police would be commencing campaigns targeted to address this specific issue.

The conference was also encouraged to pursue with President Bharrat Jagdeo, the introduction of a medical scheme for police ranks and to pursue the resolution of an existing anomaly where salaries at any given rank is pegged at that rate, irrespective of how long the policeman held the rank.

Other issues deliberated on were the preparation of female ranks to accept challenges, undertake additional roles and greater responsibility; improving media relations whereby Divisional Commanders are authorised and equipped to communicate directly with the media on issues pertaining to their area of command; improving the public image of the police by prompt and efficient handling of reports, improved investigative skills and feedback to victims; and reinforcing the principles governing the use of force by the Police.

Another issue that was dealt with entails carrying out an assessment of the lock-up at East La Penitence in Georgetown to determine the setting up of a juvenile centre for males and females.

The statement said it was decided, too, that training be organised to ensure that ranks stationed in interior locations learn Portuguese and Spanish.

It was also decided that all Community Policing patrols must have a policeman who is competent to deal with issues when the need arises.

Group discussions were also held which resulted in the formation of action plans for divisions and departments which will be incorporated into the force’s action plan for the year.

Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Bharrat Jagdeo addressed the opening session of the conference and noted that many factors have had an impact on the force’s ability to perform its duties.

He urged the officers to discuss these factors and the manner in which they will deal with them since this would have either a positive or unfavourable impact on peace, stability and the development of Guyana.

The President alluded to the fact that the force was still employing some old policing techniques, and while these may be applicable in some cases, they are outdated in others and should be altered to match the changing nature of crime.

The Guyanese Head-of-State also dismissed speculations of political interference in the running of the Guyana Police Force, the country’s primary Law Enforcement Agency.

Mr. Jagdeo also renewed his Government’s commitment to the GPF in the financial, legislative and moral arenas.