Crack Unit almost ready to deal with armed criminals
Kaieteur News
August 7, 2004

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OVER one hundred ranks of the Guyana Police Force have completed the first phase of training to establish a Crack Unit that will be tasked with the responsibility of responding to armed confrontations.

The two-week exercise was conducted by a team from the London Metropolitan Police's special firearm operations. Newly acquired weapons were used in the exercise.

The ranks, which included officers and several members of the Tactical Services Unit, underwent training that culminated yesterday in several simulation exercises at the DDL Managers' quarters at Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara.

The initiative was born out of a report by a British expert who had recommended a series of measures aimed at improving the efficiency of the Guyana Police Force.

The report resulted in a visit to London by several senior local police officers where they observed various methods of crime fighting.

According to Police Commissioner Winston Felix, it was from their visit to London that the idea of training a special crack unit to respond to armed situations, that the exercise became a reality.

"In London, we were exposed to simulated armed confrontation on computers and we recommended that the training be brought to Guyana."

He noted that this part of policing is an effort on the part of the government to improve the quality of service of the Guyana Police Force with particular emphasis on armed confrontation.

"We have had to review our performance as well as update our policy on the use of firearms," the Commissioner noted.

Within the past three years, violent crimes involving the use of high-powered firearms have been prevalent in Guyana.

And in most cases, confrontation between heavily armed criminals and the police have resulted in death on both sides.

It was noted that the recent training is designed to minimise or eliminate such casualties.

"I cannot promise that with this exercise, there will be no more deaths, but the police will be better able to deal with armed situations more professionally," the Commissioner pointed out.

Chief Superintendent of the London Metropolitan Police, Paul Robinson, who headed the team of trainers in his brief remarks, said the aim of the team is to develop confident, competent officers to deal with armed situations.

Another British trainer praised the commitment shown by the ranks during the exercise and expressed confidence that the Guyana Police Force will have one of the best crack units in the region.

During yesterday's closing ceremony, guests, who included Acting Home Affairs Minister Gail Texeira; British High Commissioner Stephen Hiscock; Chief of Staff, Brigadier, Edward Collins were shown simulation exercises on how to deal with armed suspects.

In one of the exercises, the police responded to an armed robbery in which two armed suspects robbed a businessman at Providence, East Bank Demerara, and then escaped in a waiting pick-up vehicle.

A passing police patrol spotted the pick-up a few hours later with a single male driver.

The police patrol responded with sirens blazing and ordered the driver to stop.

In a carefully planned exercise, the ranks were able to detain the driver without a shot being fired.

Later, they were able to obtain information on the whereabouts of the two suspects.

Using precision operations, the ranks surrounded the building and were able to apprehend the suspects without the use of bullets.

And in the final simulation exercise, the police crack unit swooped down on a building, where they arrested two drug dealers before they could dispose of the evidence.

Judging from the simulation exercises, it is anticipated that should the training be put into proper use, there will be less casualties. The ranks also went through basic first aid training, which will come in handy should there be any injury to policemen or suspects during police operations.

It was disclosed that those, who have benefited from the first hand training by the British, would impart their knowledge to other ranks.

Police Commissioner Felix said that it is his plan to establish such units throughout the country.

But for now, the unit will be concentrated on the high-crime areas, such as Georgetown and its environs as well as Berbice.