Police rejection of rape report by 58-year-old woman inexcusable

Dear Editor,

I am totally disturbed by news reports that ranks of the Guyana Police Force in New Amsterdam refused to take seriously a rape report by a 58-year-old Berbice woman and humiliated the victim at the police station.

It is totally inexcusable that police officers whose duty is to “protect and serve” would stoop so low as to disrespect and embarrass a senior citizen making a report at the height of her suffering after being the victim of a vicious attack and rape. This abominable act not only disgraces the officers in question, but by extension, the entire police force.

Police officers are at the service of every man, woman and child within the jurisdiction of Guyana. When any person approaches members of the police force with a report about a crime, their first order of business is to take the report seriously and investigate the circumstances immediately. It does not matter if the person making the report is a beggar or a junkie, they are required to investigate because crimes are committed against all persons, no matter what their station in life. Even vagrants on the streets have been robbed.

This story reflects so badly on our police that I really hope the media got it wrong. But if there is any truth in this story, then the senior officers of the police force need to launch an in-depth internal investigation of this poor woman’s case and if the ranks who dealt with her were guilty, then they deserve the full weight of punishment prescribed under the law. No police officer has a right to humiliate any citizen for any reason.

Dealing with reports of crimes at police stations, especially serious crimes like murder or rape, cannot be left to the ‘whim and fancy’ of junior officers on duty. There must be a reliable and effective system in place at every police outpost to record accurately and follow up on citizens’ reports to the police. This is standard police procedure worldwide and that is how it should be in Guyana as well.

Police salaries are paid for by the citizens of this country through their tax dollars and every citizen, male or female, young or old, rich or poor, sick or well, educated or uneducated, employed or unemployed, has a right to protection and attention. This is the basic reality in any civilised and sane society.

According to the news item, the position of the cops on duty was that the woman was a beggar and a junkie so who would want to rape her? This is contemptible rubbish. I am aware that elderly women over 80 years old have been raped and murdered up to recent times. All police ought to know that perverts will rape anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Therefore, I am upset and disappointed that trained police officers acted like total ignoramuses in this matter by rejecting the rape report of this senior citizen. Who gave them the right to judge her? Who gave them the authority to condemn her? This is a severe indictment of the Guyana Police Force. It shows that there are ranks on duty at police stations who are unfit to do their job with fairness and professionalism. The way they treated this woman will cause citizens to lose confidence in the police and this could escalate feelings of insecurity and fear among law-abiding persons.

If the reports are true, then the Guyana Police Force needs to do massive damage control to restore the confidence of the people. This case demands an immediate and complete investigation; if the officers are guilty, they must be publicly humbled and punished by the top brass of the police force.

There is no other way to deal with this. Every citizen across the board has a right to police protection, including the criminal.

Yours faithfully,

Roshan Khan Sr

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