Police warn reporters about breaching crime scenes
By Shawnel Cudjoe
August 21, 2004
`I want to caution you about crime scenes and about your intervention at crime scenes’ – Crime Chief Henry Greene
CRIME Chief Henry Greene yesterday warned reporters about breaching crime scenes saying they could seriously hamper police investigations.
His warning came as agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wrapped up two training courses aimed at helping local and regional cops sharpen their crime solving techniques.
Greene’s warning followed a police claim that two reporters had breached the crime scene and hampered their investigations into the deadly Tuesday morning robbery attack on a family at Non Pariel, East Coast Demerara.
Police said the two reporters were likely to be charged but no charges had been filed up to yesterday.
Bandits killed bus owner Davechand Appanna and seriously wounded his wife when they broke into their two-flat house at Non Pariel and fled with $100,000.
Greene yesterday cautioned: "We want everyone to understand that you wait on us before you go into a crime scene.”
“Sometimes I think that persons in anxiety, in the media, go too far and they breach crime scenes and it can seriously hinder our work.
“I want to caution you about crime scenes and about your intervention at crime scenes”, he said.
“Wait until the police have done what we have to do before you decide that you wish to be invited into that scene. That is all the advice we can give at this time."
Fifty persons participated in the two weeks training courses from various divisions and branches of the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, the Customs Anti- Narcotics Unit (CANU), the Suriname Police Force and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Force.
Greene urged the participants to put into the practice what they have learnt when they return to base and not be idle.
He pointed out that the training is a signal of the ongoing cooperation which Guyana has with the U.S. Government and hoped it would continue.
He urged those on the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) course to take their role seriously because it is important.
Greene advised that it was their duty to carefully investigate the scene, leaving no stone unturned to find the evidence.
"I want to impress upon you how important it is because much of what follows comes from what happens at the crime scene - that is where it all begins."
He pointed out that for the year many cases here have already been investigated and persons arrested because of fingerprints, spent shells and warheads found at the crime scenes.
Greene also stressed the importance of preserving the crime scene at all times so that CSI teams can find evidence that leads to what took place.
He urged them to continue doing their job quietly and diligently although sometimes it would go thankless or unnoticed.
Greene told the FBI officials that Guyana would be grateful for a few more courses because the aim is to turn the image of the Police Force around to ensure that officers get to the crime scene, take the evidence found and use it in a court of law.
The Deputy Commissioner urged middle managers to ensure that those under their control get their jobs done efficiently.
“It is your duty to ensure ranks come to work looking proper and doing their jobs they ought to, (that) there is good public relations, patrolling and handling prisoners properly and with care, using minimum force", he said.
"Our focus today in the force is to turn our image around, to ensure that some of what work we may have done in the past that may not have made us look so good be erased or reduced and that some proper and good memory may flow", Greene stressed.
Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy here, Mr Anthony Ilanderi, speaking on behalf of U.S Ambassador, Mr Roland Bullen, said that the rule of law is central to achieve democracy and economic development.
He pointed out that it has been proven that without this, it is difficult to sustain democracy, difficult for citizens to carry out tasks to help develop and create democracy.
Ilanderi told the officers that they are critical to the nation's development, since they are charged with enforcing the law.
He said the U.S. Government partnership with Guyana can provide the tools and training for better police officers in the quest to develop the nation.
He urged them to take the training and go about doing their duties to create a professional, democratic and respectable Police Force.
The Developing Middle Management course covered the role of the inspector, disciplinary procedures, public speaking, professional skills and leadership, crime scene management and security of arms and ammunition, among other areas.
The aim was to equip the inspectors with the requisite knowledge and skills to enhance performance.
The aim of the CSI course in which 33 persons participated was to equip the participants to manage competently and efficiently and to visit crime scenes to secure and preserve evidence gathered.
Sergeant Glen Hackett of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Force, evaluating the CSI course, said participants learnt a lot about skills and discipline associated with crime scene investigation and item recovery.
He thanked the facilitators for their vast knowledge in the field, the manner of professionalism they displayed and the atmosphere of learning that they created to stir a genuine interest among participants.
He noted that the principal element of the course was team work, which is not easily achieved because of personal differences.
He said the participants put that aside to be successful and performed as efficient and professional units.
He urged that the knowledge and skills be transposed to daily roles and functions which would enhance crime fighting abilities of the law enforcement officers.