The introduction of civilian-based inquiries into allegations of police excesses is being considered, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee announced on Thursday.
“Consideration will be given to initiate whenever deemed necessary civilian-based in-quiries into allegations of police indiscretions and excesses providing there is reasonable justification for so doing,” Rohee said at the Police Officers’ Annual Conference.
He said too that the Ministry of Home Affairs will consider new and innovative ways and means of creating “greater civilian oversight” of the role and functions of the police force.
Allegations against police accused of excesses and human rights abuses, including brutality and torture, have seen calls for independent investigations to be conducted by persons outside of the police force. Concerns have been raised about Office of Professional Responsibility and the Police Complaints Authority investigations in such cases, in light of the fact that they are carried out by serving members of the force.
Rohee also said that discussions will also soon be initiated with the acting Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud to determine the future role and place of the Office for Professional Responsibility, while steps would be taken to beef up the Police Complaints Authority with a view to making it more pro-active and investigative oriented.
In addition, the minister announced that the Ministry will be taking steps shortly to re-introduce a Police Legal Advisor at the Guyana Police Force who will report to the Minister of Home Affairs in addition to the Commissioner of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions.