Lambasting junior ranks for making “flimsy excuses” for not responding to crime reports, especially at night, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee yesterday called for better supervision and revealed that performance indicators have been developed to measure police response time.
Speaking at the opening of a leadership and management training course for 26 junior officers of the joint services, Rohee said that ‘A’ and ‘B’ Divisions have been allotted 10 to 20 minutes to respond to a crime and ‘C’ and ‘D’ Divisions 5 to 10 minutes. So far, he added, commanders have been reporting that they were able to meet their response targets.
In a blistering feature address, Rohee also said that his ministry was not fully satisfied that enough was being done as regards domestic violence reports at the various police stations, though sufficient training has been provided. He highlighted the fact that 18 police stations had been remodelled at a cost of $296.9 million under the Citizen Security Programme to deal with the issue.
Pointing to the increase in road fatalities for the first half of 2014, the minister urged that more action be taken to address the management of traffic. “At the same time, supervisors and junior ranks must desist from carrying out the illegal function of ‘travelling magistrates’ on our roads and rather engage in prevention and enforcement activities,” he said. The increase in serious crimes, especially robberies and murders, is unacceptable given the resources available to the GPF, the minister said, too.
Touching on integrity, Rohee said that “the possession of a high degree of integrity by members of the force is a guarantee for closer collaboration between the police and the public.”
Highlighting the erosion of public confidence in the police and the ongoing allegations of abuse of power, torture and corruption that tarnish the GPF’s image, Rohee drove home the need for better leadership and management. He said citizens expect the police to provide a better service and listed areas that should be focused on, including noise nuisance, domestic violence, responses to crime reports, integrity, respect for human rights and traffic management, among others.
The minister nevertheless commended the training initiative, adding that training at all levels is pivotal to the sustainability of the GPF. The 26 junior officers are set to undergo leadership and management training over the next 12 weeks, encompassing areas such as stress and anger management and new media among others.
The training, being conducted under the theme, ‘Training with the focus of maximizing visions, skills and art for enhancing the leadership for a modern Guyana Police Force (GPF)’ is expected to equip the officers, referred to as middle managers to bridge the gap between the senior command and non-commissioned rank and file.
Twenty-two of the officers, ranking from cadet officer to assistant superintendent, are from the GPF while the other four are drawn from Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Guyana Fire Service (GFS), Guyana Prison Service (GPS) and the City Constabulary.
The course comprises 2 modules and the first, expected to last 5 weeks, addresses management and leadership principles. It is being conducted under the auspices of the University of Guyana, through the provision of lecturers and will address topics such as strategic management, leadership and motivation, communication and new media, stress and anger management, among others. The second module focuses on police procedures and operations and coordinating functions of the joint services. The focus of this module is on the core functions of the disciplinary forces, principles, challenges and issues that have emerged from reports, speeches, media and international best practices.
Commissioner of Police (ag) Seelall Persaud said the course was a major investment that highlights commitment and addresses the critical needs of a strong middle management. He also expressed his appreciation for the continued partnership with UG and the hope that the course could eventually be university accredited.
The opening was also attended by Senior Superintendent Paul Williams who gave an overview of the course as well as other officers and ranks. Assistant Commissioner Balram Persaud was the master of ceremonies.