Police force, private security firms to up collaboration

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) will be working with the Guyana Association of Private Security Organisations (GAPSO) to strengthen public-private cooperation within the security sector.

This was announced on Thursday by Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, who told those gathered at the Pegasus Hotel for a joint symposium between the two organisations that the initiative was “long overdue and is being organised at a time when the demand by our citizens for more security has been increasing concomitantly with the continuing upsurge in economic activities in our country.”

He also called on both entities to work closely together so they can learn from each other’s experiences. “This would result in a more coordinated approach to our overall goal of enhancing the security of our citizens,” Rohee said.

He pointed out that because of the recognition of the vital role private security plays, there has been an emerging trend all over the world where the collaboration between the private and public security apparatus has been increasing. Guyana is no exception in this regard, he pointed out, while noting that private security companies have been expanding at a rapid rate to meet the demands of stakeholders in Guyana.

Rohee stated that Guyana has long ago recognised the need for this level of cooperation between the two sectors, and in this vein the government is supportive of the collaborative arrangement between the Guyana Police Force and GAPSO. The government has even put in place a legislative framework to ensure that there is synergy between the two sectors, he added. He said that private security companies could provide tremendous assistance to the police and noted that in many instances their personnel is the first to reach scenes when crimes are committed against the properties they protect.

According to Rohee, as the private security industry develops, there is a need for adequate self regulatory mechanisms to be put in place by private security companies and it is in this regard that GAPSO could play a pivotal role.

He added that as private security companies expand their businesses, they should ensure “their operations are formulated in such a manner that the rule of law including human rights issues is given the requisite attention.”

The minister noted that security is the most important factor for the development and stability of a country. “In my opinion, it is a fundamental requirement of all stakeholders of a society which includes businesses, governments, communities and private individual,” he said. “In our world, all governments face the enormous challenge of providing adequate security to their citizens. These challenges have become more acute over the years because of the changing nature of crime. Some of the types of crimes that societies have to confront today include terrorism, cyber crimes, drug trafficking, gang and youth violence, firearms trafficking etc. These types of crimes require the collaboration of all citizens if we are to successfully confront them,” he stressed.

Rohee noted that the security of today is divided into two components: public security and private security. Public security, he explained, is the function of governments who are required to ensure the protection of citizens, organizations and institutions against threats, their well-being and the prosperity of communities. Private security, he said, is generally provided by security services on contract to companies, individuals and organizations for the protection of persons and property.

“Because of the changing circumstances of societies, the demand for the provision of security services by private companies has been increasing,” he admitted.

Rohee also commended Major General Norman McLean, the President of GAPSO, for his role in organising the joint symposium. Also present at the event were Ramesh Dookhoo, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission and Francis Forbes, Interim Executive Director, CARICOM-IMPACS.

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