National Crime Observatory launched
– seen as boost to security
By Zoisa Fraser
The National Crime Observatory, touted as a vital management tool which will provide comprehensive, up-to-date, crime-related information to assist law enforcement agencies, particularly the police, was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday.
Speaking at the launching, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee said, “the crime observatory that we are looking forward to is like a live wire running through the architecture of the security sector. This event today symbolizes a significant step forward by the government, on behalf of the citizens and in partnership with the IDB.” He stressed that it was a critical part of the Citizens Security Programme (CSP).
Rohee said the Crime Observatory is divided into two parts – the high-level committee, which comprises the DPP, the private sector and faith-based organisations and the operations committee, made up of officials from the various ministries.
Accurate and reliable information is vital to its success but this can pose a major challenge especially when it comes to capturing unreported cases. The hospitals have been brought onboard to help deal with this issue.
Rohee said the Crime Observatory is part of the serious attempts that are being made to address crime and enhance security in Guyana. He added that this is necessary as it is expected to be proactive, robust and will assist law enforcement agencies to act in a more deliberate manner to track criminal activities and establish trends in the security sector. It will also enable them to formulate actions to deal with these trends that they see emerging in the various police divisions, he said.
According to him, the operational committee will participate by analyzing information that has been gathered and then make recommendation to the high-level committee.
He said so far, things have gone smoothly and yesterday he thanked the operational committee for all the work done so far.
The minister said this step shows that “significant changes are on the horizon”. He pointed to the establishment of Communications Act, the establishment of a National Intelligence Centre and the soon to be mounted CCTV cameras around the city and at major entry points into the city as well as the other anti-crime legislation that have been passed over the last few years.
Meanwhile Police Commissioner Henry Greene said he was inspired by the launching as he feels the initiative is vital to the role and work of the Guyana Police Force. Giving some history on what led to its creation, he said it all started in “a limited way” in 2006 when ranks started providing information and attending meetings with the technical committee set up at the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, during these sessions information was only provided on ‘A’ Division and on traffic issues, which were more on a countrywide basis. Greene told the gathering that this practice continued for a number of years as the system provided as much accurate information as
possible on what was happening in terms of the analysis of trends, modus operandi, the various crime areas and traffic.
He said in recent times, it expanded to providing information from all the police divisions adding that coordinators in every division are responsible for ensuring that information is acquired from each station. That information is then sent to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters and in the case of traffic, the Traffic Headquarters. From there the information is then coordinated to be sent to the Crime Observatory, Greene explained.
“All of this information can now be accessed on the Crime Observatory. It is a major help in analyzing data that we provide,” he said.
Greene stated that recently the Integrated Crime Information System (ICIS) was created and he described it as a fantastic system, which would allow ranks to record reports electronically as opposed to writing.
He said those who have seen it or accessed it would recognise its importance to the force as it saves the ranks from having to do manual work.
“In the long run our plan is to record everything electronically. Once you hit the Enquiries Office, we take you on the computer,” he said adding that all reports, whether crime or traffic would be recorded on the computer.
This system, he said, would allow for easy access to information from police headquarters and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“It will help us to access information readily and help us do our assessment, crime wise, traffic wise and all the other areas we need to collate information,” Greene said, stressing that the system is welcome and the force is prepared for it.
He explained that as part of the CSP, a computer room was established some time ago and so far 300 officers have been trained and are now computer literate.
The launching of the Crime Observatory took place at the Police Officers’ Mess Eve Leary and was attended by senior police officials, army officials, ministers of the government, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, members of the business community, representatives of non governmental organisations and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) officials.
During the programme, the 2009 report of the crime observatory was handed over to Rohee.