Top Cop says police reform underway

-aviation unit in works

Leslie James

Saying that the reform of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is underway, Commissioner of Police Leslie James yesterday announced that the results would be visible within the next six months.

Speaking at his first news conference since taking up the post of Commissioner, James also announced that an aviation unit is to be established.

James said the general public can expect to see changes in the force by March, 2019. While, he did not elaborate on what changes can be expected, he noted that they will be seen in the areas of Human Resources Management, Training, and Infrastructure. Asked for further details of changes being implemented, James responded, “Wait and see.” 

“The Guyana Police Force is at a very important juncture as you would have recognised. We are deliberately rolling out a plan which flowed from recommendations and by March, 2019, there will be a much-reformed Guyana Police Force. Three broad categories are being dealt with and these are Human Resource Management, Training and Infrastructure,” the commissioner said.

On the day of his appointment, James was urged by President David Granger to take the lead in the reform of the security sector.

In giving examples of the ongoing reform, James pointed to the commissioning of the new Mackenzie Police Station at Linden, in Region Ten, and he also noted that soon another station, at Aurora, in Region Two, will also be commissioned.

The new stations, he explained, will be outfitted with modern facilities, which will aid police in delivering efficient service to citizens. “I must report that those stations are outfitted with modern-type units. For example, the one-way mirror,” he said. “…This is all towards ensuring better interaction between members of the communities and the policemen and women who would be deployed at the various stations,” he added.

Some 16 stations across the country are being upgraded.

Speaking about the establishment of an aviation unit, James noted that discussions are currently ongoing with stakeholders and the government. “If this is a serious investment destination, it means we will have to engage in best practices,” he noted.

James explained that the advent of the unit has to be done by way of a policy, which has to be introduced by the Ministry of Public Security. He noted that Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan has already made the disclosure and signalled his approval for the establishment of the unit.

James also indicated that the marine unit of the force will also receive a boost and engagements have been held with persons who have indicated their willingness to assist.

“As recent as yesterday, we have had a meeting with persons who wished to engage with us and there was a presentation in terms of boosting our marine capability. That meeting was held at the Ministry of Public Security. The minister was there along with some key personnel in the force,” he said before stating that he was not in a position to divulge any other details.

James also said the force is currently examining the resuscitation of the Police Training Board and the Traffic Advisory Board, which he said are vital if the force wishes to remain relevant.

“We have sought to re-establish those boards because it was determined that they are very important once this force is to remain relevant. Even in our PR [Public Relations] Department, you will see, shortly, a boost in terms of what was recommended to us,” James said.

He further stated that the training schools in the three counties will undergo much needed reform.

The recommendations currently being implemented are from the UK-funded Security Sector Reform plan, which was handed over to President Granger in January by British security advisor Lt Col (ret’d) Russell Combe.

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