Set up policing groups in each community
-- Top Cop by Jaime Hall
Guyana Chronicle
May 31, 2004

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POLICE Commissioner Winston Felix in his address during the Annual Community Policing Group's Annual General Meeting yesterday urged Police Commanders of the various station districts to encourage the establishment of at least one community policing group in each district.

Mr. Felix told participants of the conference held at Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary that the establishments of these groups must be seen as an effort to draw from the public what are the problems with regards to crime and work together to solve them.

The conference comprised of members of community policing groups, members of the force and private security organisations.

He said this approach will enhance the crime fighting competence in terms of patrols, and the problem solving components where the police and community meet and discuss ways of solving them.

However, the Police Commissioner warned against members of policing groups who easily allow themselves to be distracted.

He noted, for example, that there were problems that occur when one of the community police areas gave prominence to office holding rather policing groups executive seeing themselves as there to serve the community, making it safer.

"Community policing should serve all the peoples of Guyana. It is an essential component of law enforcement activity and brings together the police and the communities they serve making them safer", Mr. Felix remarked.

This he noted, could be achieved through patrolling, or through the mere passing of information from the community to the Police. Regular interaction with the communities, through the holding of public meetings is one other way in which reducing crime could be tackled, the Police Commissioner has suggested.

"We must all be reminded that we are all servants of the law and we must in the execution of our duty perform in conformity with the law".

He said that in every Police Station area there should be as least one community policing group. Law enforcement cannot achieve the best results unless it works with the public. "It is the public from which the police should draw support and strength for the performance of its duties".

Home Affairs Minister Mr. Ronald Gajraj who also made remarks during the conference noted that Guyana has benefited from the work of community policing and the collaborative work must continue and be encouraged in an effort to build stronger aptitude. This will help to significantly reduce crime in communities and the country, he said.

Mr. Gajraj also noted that although there were policing groups that went inactive, there are many that have met with resounding success.

He urged that the groups use the authority within the prescribed limits to deal with crime and do not abuse the system in dealing with offenders. Their actions must be in conformity with the laws of Guyana.