FBI deploys team here
Guyana Chronicle
August 17, 2004

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THE United States FBI has deployed a team here to help Guyana police better track down criminals and solve crime.

The agency is also setting up a sub-office in Trinidad to be able to respond faster to calls for help and training requests, an official said yesterday.

FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agents yesterday began working with local law enforcement officials to improve their crime scene investigation capability.

The five-day training programme, involving 32 local officers, is the first of three to be held here.

Sessions are being held at the Felix Austin Training College in Eve Leary Georgetown. The FBI is conducting training on how to respond to a crime scene, secure and process evidence collected from the scene and maintaining the chain of custody of evidence so that it is not contaminated or damaged.

The agency’s Legal Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, Mr Dennis Pierce, said at the opening that the course resulted from meetings between Police Commissioner Winston Felix and FBI officials, through the American Embassy in Georgetown.

He said the training which focuses on basic crime scene investigation was chosen because it was most valuable to the Guyana Police Force at this time. Generally, it will teach techniques used in the United States on how to better solve crime, he explained.

The FBI will be conducting another course next month on how to conduct arrests in dangerous raids safely in accordance with the laws of the country.

Pierce said crimes such as kidnappings and homicide, which do occur here, are not new to the U.S., but with the exchange of information FBI officers would be able to learn from the experiences shared by the Guyanese police.

He said he had not had a chance to visit the police crime laboratory here to see if it is adequately equipped to complement the training efforts, but noted that given the problem of limited resources many policing agencies face, the Guyana Police Force has been making strong efforts to control crime.

The FBI official commended the local police for being able to reduce kidnappings and the killing of policemen among other recent criminal activities.

Pierce said the FBI would be able to better cover its work and training in Guyana with the opening of a sub-office in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

This sub-office would make access to Guyana easier for its officers who would have to get here when required, he said.

FBI officers who would usually cover assignments in Guyana are currently based in Caracas.

Mr Felix said crime scene preservation is important in gathering evidence that would be needed to solve crime.

The commissioner, who also benefitted from FBI training, noted that a common problem at crime scenes in Guyana, for example, is that when a round or rounds are discharged from a firearm, people here generally rush to and flock the scene rather than move away.

He said that under such conditions it would be important for law enforcement officers to take proper control of the crime scene. And in doing that they would need to be courteous to the public, he emphasised to the course participants.

Felix noted that when ranks are dispatched to crime scenes they overreact in situations when they are supposed to be calm to take appropriate action.

Operating in such a manner could sometimes inhibit the ability of the police to gather all the evidence that may be at their disposal, he pointed out.

He said a basic occurrence at crime scenes is that criminals take something to the crime scene and take away something by which they could be trailed.

He urged those being trained to put into practice what is taught in the classroom, but in a pure and unadulterated way.

Some 100 members of the Police Force just over a week ago completed an intensive training programme under British experts and are ready to better handle armed situations.

The squad concluded two weeks of training in new methods of responding to armed situations as part of the government's effort to improve the quality of service delivered by the Force regarding armed confrontations, Felix said.