Teach all officers to respect the citizenry

Dear Editor,

It has come upon us that far too many Police Officers in Guyana are of the opinion their rank opens a gateway to being judge, jury, and executioner, even in personal and civil matters. These police believe they have the ready authority to do as they please when dealing with the general public, even to operate outside the confines of the law. And so, when they are both on and off duty.

A recent case in point involved two neighbours – one a young officer of the special branch, Eve Leary, and the other, a man of international status bearing the age of 77 years. As it occurred, the officer for reasons known only to himself circulated talks of a defamatory nature and directed it to the elder. Now in Guyana, any news of a vile kind circulates with rapid speed. And upon hearing the taints of his character the elder asked the officer to stop and desist from his erroneous and outlandish behaviour. But the officer took umbrage at being told how to conduct himself by a non-rank, repeatedly jabbed the elder to his chest while he verbally peppered him with threatening language, all in the presence of other neighbours. Naturally the elder was terrified and was forced to call Brickdam (911) with a request for assistance. Hearing this, the officer again threatened the elder that he would deal with him in his own fashion. Mind you, this was a police officer who had no qualms of his public exhibition of character. And to rub salt into the wound the precinct which had the lodged report never investigated the incident. I therefore contend that all ranks at entrance level should be provided with better and more appropriate training, and have that training be continued as a rehabilitating reminder – a refresher’s course that would prevent the incorporation of rogue cop mentality. Teach all officers to respect the citizenry if they themselves want to be respected. Why should a police officer in plain clothes and unknown to a citizen kick down a door to apprehend someone he the police thought had acted suspiciously without announcing he was the police, and then shooting the citizen attempting to defend his domicile? Why should an officer shoot an individual with whom he had an argument, because he, the officer carried a gun?   All these are legitimate questions that pertinent Ministries should address so as to breathe some life into things that should be dealt with in police training, and the methods they at present use should be revamped to be effective and efficient.

Police are asking the assistance of citizenry in the solving of crimes, but how can the citizenry take the risk of assisting the police who themselves behave like criminals?

Respect is two-fold and reciprocal. Make police training a duty, and have the country be at ease and contented with the idea of proper policing. For should the police continue to operate on the ideas they now have, Guyana is surely headed towards a police state.

 

Yours faithfully,
Jorge Bowenforbes

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