— through investment in assets, human resources
THE government is committed to continue making the necessary investments through providing the requisite assets and developing the human resource that are critical to craft a holistic approach to the revamping of the Guyana Police Force.
This is in keeping with the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) manifesto promise of reducing crime and promoting safer communities through providing more equipment, facilities, training for law-enforcement personnel and improving investigative and forensic capabilities, among other mechanisms.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony of 50 brand new vehicles to the GPF on Monday at the Police Sports Club Ground, Eve Leary, Georgetown, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali reminded attendees that the force’s deficiencies were identified in the Security Sector Reform Study of 2017.
Among those deficiencies which were highlighted were chronic underfunding; a shortage of vehicles and the poor state of the vehicular fleet; the lack of adequate communication equipment and poor maintenance of physical assets.
The President is cognisant of the incidents of robberies and acts of violence committed against citizens. He posited that condign action must be taken to enable citizens to be able to walk the streets of Guyana free from fear – which will be achieved through the gamut of measures the government is undertaking to aid the force in crime-fighting.
Ali highlighted that the success of the Guyana Police Force depends on the Force being equipped with the right physical asset to combat crime, that the human resource of the Force is not only of quantity but of utmost quality and that the right partnerships are crafted to aid with crime-fighting.
In addition to the 50 new vehicles, the President said that the huma-resource component is also being developed as many officers are wrapping up studies in various areas through government scholarships and more scholarships will be available in novel areas for more ranks in the near future.
“Other important areas include specialised training in transnational crime, strategic management, mentoring and coaching and importantly, we also have to build our in-house capacity to address the technological challenges and opportunities that will come our way,” Ali said.
WILL PROVIDE INCENTIVES
He explained that the government will provide incentives in addition to salary benefits for ranks of the armed forces such as mechanisms which will aid their personal development, support the welfare of their families and provide them with essential necessities of life such as homeownership and educational opportunities.
“Creating a robust approach to crime-fighting depends on a force that is nimble, a force that is united, a force that is focused and a force that is professional … and that force must also be capable of withstanding public scrutiny, of operating in a transparent and open manner and doing things within the confines of the laws,” the President said.
“Our police ranks will be provided with additional body cameras in order to protect them against false and malicious allegations and to promote greater professionalism on the job. There will also be a good check and balance for the way we conduct ourselves also,” he added.
The President reminded of the wealth of measures the government has already undertaken since their assumption of office in August 2020 to improve capabilities and conditions of service such as the $1billion allocation in the 2020 Emergency Budget for ongoing works on police stations.
There was also a sum of $830 million set aside in the 2021 Budget for the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of police stations and $96 million to community policing, as there was a 20 per cent reduction in community policing groups and a 40 per cent reduction of members between 2015 and 2020.
The President explained that the government is also cognisant that the nature of crime is changing and to support the vast, expanding road networks of Guyana, marine assets will also be revamped to strategically utilise the river channels in Guyana. Some $300 million was allocated for this in the 2021 Budget out of the $15.8 billion that has been allocated for the force.
The Head of State said that delivery of the 50 vehicles is testament to his government’s commitment to providing the police with the tools they need to undertake its mandate of crime-fighting.
TAKE PROPER CARE
He urged the force to take proper care of the vehicles as only four years ago China handed over 140 vehicles to Guyana, only 39 of which are currently in a working state as 101 are down for repairs, some of which are already unserviceable.
“This cannot continue …. we support the work of the Police Force and will provide it with the resources needed, but the force needs to take better care of its transportation equipment. The provision of resources must be accompanied by greater responsibility in their use and care,” he said.
The President also highlighted that the public is appalled at the level of misuse and reckless driving of many of the force’s vehicles. These vehicles, he said, must not be used for joyrides.
“The physical assets of the Guyana Police Force must be better managed. And we will have training programmes to manage these assets …. The assets being provided to the force are to boost its capability, its responsiveness and people will judge us by the way in which we care for and use these assets,” he said.
President Ali also lauded the private sector for embracing the government’s strategy and for rendering support, noting that a crucial partnership is required with the private sector to fight crime.
He reiterated that the government is willing to grant duty-free concessions to private-sector entities desirous of donating vehicles to the force.