Detective Assistant Superintendent is 2006 best cop
-- Police must focus more on responsiveness-Acting Commissioner

Kaieteur News
December 14, 2006

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A detective Assistant Superintendent was named Policeman of the Year when the Guyana Police Force held it annual Awards Ceremony yesterday at the Tactical Services Unit Drill Square, Eve Leary.

Assistant Superintendent Marlon Chapman, of the Police Berbice Division, was rewarded for outstanding detective work, which led to the solving of a number of crimes, some of which had been dormant for a considerable period.

He edged out Chief Inspector Charles of A Division, and other Divisional Best Cops for the coveted spot.

Chapman was presented with $50,000, a trophy, and a trip for two to the Kaieteur Falls.

Yesterday's awards represented the 14th consecutive year that the Force has monetarily honoured its ranks for their performances.

According to Deputy Commissioner Edwards Wills, this year, the Force will pay out $7M to 1100 regular ranks, while 25 community policing groups and 17 individuals will receive certificates.

Delivering the feature address, Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene said that he believes there is justification for the Force to pat itself on its back for its performance this year.

But, he stated, the Force must focus on continued responsiveness.

According to the top cop, the Force has benefited from exceptional support from the community at large, more particularly from the community policing groups and the newly formed neighbourhood policing bodies.

“But despite all of this, I think that we, the police, must focus on our continued responsiveness to the public, to the people, in terms of our service,” Greene said.

He highlighted a few areas in which the police needs to place more focus, one of which is the response to reports brought to police stations from members of the public.

He cited cases where persons are turned away by ranks at one station, because what they were reporting did not originate in that particular station district.

“I want to remind all members of the Force that the Force is one station; and if a man comes to you at a particular station, his report has to be taken, and that report should then be transferred to the particular station, and further action taken there! He should not be turned away and told ‘this is not the place to make your report',” the Acting Commissioner said.

To improve its responsiveness, the Force recently introduced a ‘Public Day,' which is a special day of the week that is designated for the Commissioner and his Commanders to meet with members of the public.

The Acting Commissioner also pointed to another aspect of attempts to improve the Force's responsiveness, which involves the new approach to dealing with domestic violence.

“We have gone so far as to remodel some of our stations to include domestic violence rooms…and we are in the process of remodelling as many stations as the money could, next year, to ensure that domestic violence rooms and interview rooms are included in all police stations, to promote some level of privacy and confidentiality,” Greene explained.

In the area of crime, Greene said that in light of the current shortage of personnel within the Force, he would like the public to judge the Force on whether or not the organisation has worked creditably.

He noted that while the present figures show that murders have increased by 26 percent this year, as well as robbery under arms, it is not a true indication of the work the Force has been doing within the past few months.

“What is noteworthy is that, earlier in the year, we were going at fifty percent above (last year), and they are now down to twenty five per cent above,” Greene noted.

Today many robberies are committed with firearms, and according to Greene, the figures could be misleading, because once a man enters a house with a firearm, the offence is no longer burglary, it is transferred to robbery under arms.

To this end he said, the police have intensified their efforts to curb this trend.

“We have managed to interdict the last wanted criminal who had escaped from jail in this country some four years ago; we have managed to interdict him this year. We have done quite a lot of work in the recovery of firearms.”

Greene said that, so far for this year, the Force has recovered 138 firearms, comprising 91 handguns; 24 shotguns and 22 rifles, including a number of automatic rifles.

“Our work, in terms of going after those using illegal weapons, going after those who are involved in the trade of weapons has been quite significant.”

According to the Acting Commissioner, the Force has placed a lot of emphasis in this year's Awards on those ranks who have played a significant role in the recovery of illegal weapons, since the interdiction of illegal firearms will continue to be an important thing, if crime is to be reduced in Guyana.

He added that the Force has also been responsive in the area of drugs, in Guyana with the interdiction of large fields of marijuana and large amounts of cocaine.

The Force has also looked at reforming its divisional advisory, so that commanders will be able to work with the body.

“The question today, to all of us who belong to the Force, is: Have I worked? Do I deserve whatever I'm to get? If I go to the pay table today, will I confidently stretch out my hand and feel gratified that I have given a pound for whatever I'm about to receive?” the Acting Commissioner said.

“A man once said that too many people quit looking for work when they find a job. I hope that none of us is in that category. I think that what is important is not the hours you put in, but what you tend to put in the hours,” Greene added.