Junior police ranks are poorly supervised- PCA Chairman
By Leroy Smith
Junior ranks within the Guyana Police Force (GPF) are poorly supervised by their superiors at Police Stations and this continues to be one of the major issues resulting in numerous complaints against the police with the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).
This is according to outgoing Chairman of the PCA, Justice Cecil Kennard. He believes that if the bull is taken by the horn, police/public relations could see an even greater leap for the better.
“One of the things I find very disturbing is the person who is in charge of a shift, that is generally station Sergeant, they are not firm enough in dealing with these young members of the Guyana police force when they commit any misconduct, the supervising officers have to be more stern, because if they are not stern these younger ranks will continue to misbehave” Justice Kennard pointed out.
Common complaints which are lodged against the ranks are; neglect of duty which speaks to acting on reports, ensuring that proper investigations are done and failure to attend court hearings among others. That is followed by unlawful arrests, acting in a manner that brings the force into the disrepute and corruption.
Additionally, Kennard explained during an exclusive interview with the News Room that the number of complaints against police ranks and officers could be even higher if the PCA had permanent offices in the various regions.
He told the News Room that because of the absence of such offices, he has been taking his staff to the various regions to meet with members of the public. Justice Kennard says he feels that poor people are the most affected by police shortcomings.
“It is important that we go out to meet these people. Take for instance, someone has a complaints from Springlands or the Essequibo Coast, it’s very expensive for them to come to Georgetown to lodge a complaint because the majority of people who lodge complaints are poor people so it’s very important for us to go out and meet the people and by meeting the people and explaining to them the role and functions of the police complaints authority and also informing them how we can be approached is very helpful for those poor people. Because; you know, many people have been wronged by the police but because they are not aware of the police complaints authority, they just allow the matters to drop and the police ranks continue to misbehave” he related.
Justice Kennard claims that complaints to his office do not sit for more than six weeks on any desk as he is aware that slow justice deters members of the public from making themselves available to provide evidence against the ranks who are the subject of an investigation.
Last year the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) addressed a total of 840 complaints, 251 of which was filed directly with the body and an additional 599 which was referred to the body from the Police Office of Professional responsibility.