Turkeyen police station commissioned -expected to cut Sophia crime
Stabroek News
December 20, 2006

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Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene (left) looks on as the ribbon for the new station is cut.

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee yesterday commissioned a new $41M police station at Turkeyen equipped with holding cells for both males and females in addition to accommodation for police of both sexes.

The Minister stated that the new structure would increase the number of stations in the division from seven to eight. The $41M cost of the station, said Rohee, should not be seen in isolation but as a wider effort by the administration to make sure the police are properly housed to keep the peace.

The station because it falls in the Turkeyen area is within 'C' Division and would be mainly responsible for policing Fields 'A' to 'E' of what is commonly called Sophia. The station was reportedly built on what was a patch of swampy land in three stages that cost approximately $9M, $19M and $13M respectively. The two-storey structure was designed with among other things a traffic complaints division, Criminal Investigation Registry, interrogation rooms, lock- ups, offices and barracks for male and female ranks.

Rohee noted that the erection of the new building is the manifestation of the impact of the crime level and requires observers to look at not only normal statistics of robberies and deaths but also the economic investment. It behooves the government, which wants to invest in security, Rohee said, to construct structures of such a nature.

He made mention of the fact that complaints by persons from far-flung areas of poor police behaviour is upsetting. He said persons report being told when they approach the police station to lodge reports to, 'get out of this station' and 'I am the law'. This he says shows that there is a lot more work to be done.

"This must be a thing of the past," the Minister said adding, "the divisional commander would be held accountable." It must be a station that sets a shining example for other police stations nationally.

The government, Rohee revealed, considers the Turkeyen area strategic in the development of the country hence the erection of the Caricom Secretariat, the Convention Centre and the upgrading of the Ogle airport. Therefore the Turkeyen station is also strategically located to play a role in years to come.

The Minister said he is appealing publicly for the establishment or re-establishment of Station Management Committees as they help to foster a relationship between the police and the community.

Acting Police Commis-sioner Henry Greene said to the gathering of police and Turkeyen residents that it was a good day for both parties.

He expressed the hope that because the police station was among the bigger and better organized ones it would encourage the ranks there to work harder. The area, he said, has seen crimes such as robbery under arms, break and enter and larceny and one murder in recent times. However, he said it is expected the presence of the station would keep crime under control there.

The police station is expected not to reflect laxity, lack of interest and unresponsiveness to the community. Residents should not have to complain, said the acting Commissioner.

He made note of figures saying the station must not reflect the 83 reports of neglect of duty by police, the 72 complaints of police acting in a manner detrimental to the image of the force and the 18 complaints of neglect of duty among others. It is a national issue he said while expressing the hope that he and the divisional commander do not get complaints of such a nature.

The station should elicit the confidence and support of the people for whose work and lives the police provide service and protection. The location ought to project an increase in patrols, roadblocks and stop and search operations.

The Commissioner acting asked residents to bear with the force as in dealing with criminals they may have to endure some amount of discomfort as the police seek to rid the community of its negative elements.

Turkeyen station, the Commissioner said, is expected to reflect an effort to reduce criminal activity, and residential support since the police need information, evidence, cooperation from witnesses and strength from virtual complainants.

Construction of the police station commenced in 2004 following calls since 1998 by residents who felt such an arrangement would provide security as the area began to expand. The structure was completed in September.

Vendor Terrence Anderson was murdered in Sophia on December 7 and his wife was of the view that had the police station been in operation then her husband might not have died.