Crimes in the interior mining districts and the rapid increase of vehicles on the roads are both demanding more attention by the police force, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee said yesterday.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the Junior Officers’ Course No. 21, at Police Officers’ Mess, Eve Leary, Rohee identified these two areas among the issues of the current law enforcement environment that need to be addressed.
He noted that the dramatic increase in the price of gold and the accompanying mad rush have seen an influx of persons of dubious character into the interior. “…[They] have been engaging in robberies and murders, thus requiring the diversion of more attention by the police in the mining districts in the interior,” he said.
More vehicles have been imported into the country as a result of the country’s economic development, according to Rohee, who said the police with citizens would have to seek ways to implement more effective strategies to curb the resulting amount of accidents on the roads.
Rohee also noted the need for the force to manage and control crime throughout the country and to prepare for the upcoming general elections that are due this year.
Rohee emphasised the importance of professionalism, while saying that public confidence is critical for the police force to be efficient and effective. He said unless the rank and file of the force adopt a professional posture on a continuous basis when having engagements with the public, the degree to which the public will provide you with cooperation will be affected in a negative way.
He also urged the junior officers to ignore concerns that their low wages could force them to engage in corrupt practices.
“Do not pay heed to the ‘loose talk’ by some elements of our society who are claiming that your emoluments are too ‘small’, thus you would be tempted to get involved in corrupt activities. Always remember that you are expected to live within your ‘means’. The ethics of your profession must always be your guide to action,” he said. “You must possess the moral fortitude to resist any temptation leading to corruption.”
Rohee said too that the government has been striving to improve the quality of service that is provided by the police force to the public with the introduction of a number of initiatives, including an ongoing “Institutional Reform Programme” that he said addresses many facets of its operations.
“The vision of the current administration for the Guyana Police Force is that it must be an organisation that is efficient and effective and well capable of responding to the needs and expectations of our society,” he added, while noting that government has been investing significant sums of money to reform the force.
However, Rohee also noted the need for quality human resources in order for the force to play a part in support of economic and social development.
He also said that the junior officers, as future leaders of the force, were expected, among other things, to have a high degree of integrity, to be open minded and to be mindful of the force’s role in society. He noted the importance of them ensuring a clean and well preserved environment, saying that a “good policeman” would not allow lock-ups that house his fellow human beings to be in a state that infringed human rights.
The 12-week course, which is being held under the theme: ‘Training for Greater Efficiency and Effectiveness’, will focus on competence and leadership techniques, English, communication techniques, and disciplinary procedures, among other subjects.
In his address, Police Commissioner Henry Greene emphasised that in order to achieve the mandate of law and order, the force had to recruit and maintain suitably-qualified persons. He said that following the recruitment process, the ranks must be trained and they must understand their role. The Junior Officers’ Course “has been the hallmark course that we use to judge officers, to judge those who will get up to the top, to judge those who are competent and capable… It is so very important to us,” he said.
He urged the ranks to focus a lot on public relations, since it is an important aspect of police operations.
“A lot of the licks and the problems that we get and experience today [are] because we do not have effective public relations. And this public relations is transferred starting from the station… Our work in dealing with the public in ensuring that we can serve every person that comes into the station is so critical to our success as a police force,” he noted.
According to Greene, a lot has been done for the force, including the installation of computers and systems to assess crimes. However, he said, if ranks do not understand the importance of public relations all of these efforts would be worthless.