Over the course of the three-day conference, several important issues affecting the force were highlighted and addressed. The conference was held under the theme “Consolidating our gains through reform, training, partnership and effective policing” and it was attended by 128 officers.
According to a release, issues such as the international security landscape, drug trafficking, intelligence-led crime fighting, the pact of the global financial crises and succession planning were among those discussed.
According to the release, these were issues raised by President Bharrat Jagdeo in his opening address and were alluded to in subsequent addresses by the Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee and Commissioner of Police Henry Greene.
Additionally, the conference focused in great detail on the force’s response capability to incidents of crime, the continued training of response units, the improvement of the working environment at police stations with special emphasis on the lock-ups and confidentiality when dealing with reports particularly those relating to domestic violence, and enhancing police/community relations. The implications for policing with the opening of the Berbice River Bridge and the impending opening of the Guyana/Brazil Bridge; security assistance at the upcoming Summit of the Americas; and the hosting of the 24th Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) in May, 2009, were also raised.
Meanwhile, Greene updated officers on the Citizen Security Programme and the Security Sector Reform Programme. Through the latter, the force will benefit from improved forensic capability, local and overseas training, the construction of a recruit training facility at Dora on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway, Traffic Management, Infor-mation Technology and Information Gathering and Intelligence Processing.
During the conference the police took cognisance of the significant reduction in road fatalities during 2008. Last year’s 113 fatalities (including seven children) which resulted from 99 accidents was the lowest on record for the past 39 years.
The Traffic Department was complimented for this achievement and the success of the positive impact of “Operation Safeway” was noted. So far 101, 236 cases have been made against persons for breaching the laws, since its launching on October 25, 2007. Meanwhile, a pledge was made to work assiduously to reduce road deaths below the 2008 level.
In keeping with the theme, significant deliberations on the issue of the training of members of the force both local and overseas, including appropriate foreign languages, in order to improve their knowledge, skill and ability so as to be able to enhance service delivery. In this regard, a comprehensive Strategic Training Plan is to be drawn up by the Felix Austin Police College.
At the same time it was noted that training facilities are being expanded and improved through the reopening of the Felix Austin Police College at Adventure, Corentyne; the refurbishing of the Richard Faikall Police College at Suddie, Essequibo; and the establishment of additional facilities at Dora and Camp Street.
The meaningful support being given to the force by community policing groups and neighbourhood policing personnel in the continuing fight against crime, was also acknowledged and commended. Recognition was also given to the fact that the Community Policing Organi-sation of Guyana recently observed its 33rd year of existence and it was suggested that community policing groups should establish youth clubs with the aim of assisting with the social moulding of the communities
The conference recognized the good standard of policing work being done in the Bartica community by Woman Constable 16816 Racquel Henry who was promoted on-the-spot to the rank of Lance Corporal and awarded a monetary incentive.
The conference held lengthy discussions with significant participation among officers on a number of issues relating to the enhancement of police operational capabilities, and the improvement of the working environment of police ranks.
These included: human rights, illegal firearms, gangs involved in criminal activities, crime intelligence, border security and interior policing, marine capability, zero tolerance for domestic violence, computerisation of the force, police/community relations, counselling for police ranks, study leave, community policing and neighbourhood policing.