LAX attitudes in relation to the policing of communities countrywide would not be tolerated, and the existing posture of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) will be changed to facilitate greater efficiency. This was disclosed by Deputy Commissioner (ag) (Operations), Clifton Hicken, during an outreach on Saturday at the Diamond Secondary School in Second Avenue, East Bank Demerara. The meeting was held in collaboration with the Grove/Diamond Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC). Residents of Diamond, Grove, Kaneville, and Samatta Point attended the meeting after Hicken had held a previous outreach on November 28. Addressing the senior officers and other ranks at the event, Hicken said that prevention and community outreach would be the primary focus of the force, with persuasive policing being employed when interacting with members of the public. The Deputy Commissioner reminded the senior officers that their role in that regard was crucial to confidence in the constantly evolving process.
He asserted that their presence on the ground, and constant visibility, were important as citizens would appreciate that their concerns were being taken seriously. Hicken concluded his preamble by touching on the care and accountability of police assets – particularly patrol vehicles – presenting a direct correlation between those and purposeful monitoring of communities.
The audience was reminded of the six main “issues and concerns” that were raised at the November 28 meeting: formation of Community Policing Groups (CPGs); absence of police visibility/presence; timely response by the police and constant feedback in relation to crimes that would have occurred; robberies at the ‘Black and White’ bridge in Kaneville; traffic lawlessness, and police unprofessionalism and corruption. As a result, several recommendations were made: the need to have new CPGs formed in Diamond, Grove and Kaneville, and to have this extend to other communities; face the community meetings in all phases of those communities; the Police must respond with alacrity, investigate in a timely manner and provide constant feedback to the public on the status of all investigations; covert and overt operations at the ‘Black and White’ bridge; traffic management through visibility and constant monitoring; non-confrontational relations between the police and the public, with the former being readily accessible, particularly senior officers.
Tasked with the implementation of those recommendations at the last meeting was Regional Division 4(B) Commander, Senior Superintendent, Linden Isles, who started his report by disclosing that having met with members of the original CPGs in Diamond, Grove and Kaneville, a decision had been made to resuscitate those groups, and that elections would be held to have them ‘up and running’ in short order. Deputy Commissioner Hicken then called on one of the division 4(B)’s senior detectives to provide an update on the number of crimes that had been reported since the last outreach, and, if any, the status of those investigations as well as the feedback to the victims. The senior detective said that there had been five crimes reported, and all the investigations were still active, but none had been solved. He was reminded of the importance of seeing these matters to their conclusion. With respect to criminal activity near the “Black and White” bridge in Kaneville, Commander Isles said that operations had commenced in the location, and were ongoing. He opined that having given his and other senior officers’ mobile numbers to members of the community at the last outreach, and with no complaints being received, it was apparent that the constant police presence had achieved the intended goal of reducing the incidence of criminal pursuits. The commander also said that roving patrols would continue unabated in all the communities.