The Guyana Police Force has a set of media relations guidelines which are working well

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Police Force is responding to a letter to the editor published in the Stabroek News of January 15, 2009, under the caption ‘The operations of the Public Relations Office of the Guyana Police Force should be reviewed.’

In the letter the author, Patrick E. Mentore, a past Public Relations and Press Officer of the Guyana Police Force, indicated that he was nonplussed recently when he saw that the Police Public Relations Unit was facing several challenges which he thought had been identified and addressed long ago, and went on to state the need for the establishment of a police media relations policy and the introduction of a system of liaison officers in the policing divisions.

It is unfortunate that contact was not made with the Office of the Police Public Relations and Press Officer before this letter was penned as it would have been found to be no longer necessary.

The Guyana Police Force has established a set of media relations guidelines since 2004 following consultations with members of the media through the Guyana Press Association, with the active support of a British media consultant whose services were made available through the British government.

The police media relations guidelines which were adopted and have been working well, were established cognizant of the importance of the public’s right to know about the force’s activities under its mandate to maintain law and order, peace and security for all citizens, and also in recognition of the essential role that the media played in providing information to the public, including the police.

The force has also implemented a system of divisional correspondents in the policing divisions whose role is to provide information to the central Police Public Relations and Press Office in order to facilitate the quick and continued passage of press releases/ updates/ responses to queries made by media operatives.

While the divisional correspondents are not authorized to deal directly with the media, the force administration during 2004 made a policy decision which allowed divisional commanders to relate to members of the media as far as matters in their respective division were concerned.

Training is continually being provided for the divisional correspondents and the staff of the PR department in order to improve their efficiency, and it should be pleasing to note that members of the media are involved by way of conducting lectures in specific subject areas in the training programme.

These initiatives along with other efforts by the Office of the Police Public Relations Office and the force administration, have combined to significantly improve the relations between the media and the police force over the years.

Yours faithfully,
Ivelaw Whittaker
Public Relations and
Press Officer

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