By Royan Abrams
The Community Policing Groups (CPGs) across the country has concluded 41 years of voluntary service to the people of Guyana. It has commenced its anniversary celebrations with a Church Service at Tagore Secondary School on April 1, 2017, and will conclude its celebrations with a Women’s Conference on May 27, 2017.
Activities are planned in the sixteen Community Policing Divisions.
The major event was hosted at Corentyne, Berbice on Saturday, April 22, 2017, attracting hundreds of members from the various CPGs across the country. The members gathered at the Skeldon Estate on the Corentyne to participate in a road march which was saluted by the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan before making its way into the Scottsburg Ground at Corriverton, also on the Corentyne.
Community Policing in Guyana commenced in the year 1976 with the aim of harnessing the energy of willing members of communities across Guyana in support of the work of the Police. The objective is to achieve a crime-free society, and to be responsive, together with the Police, to the needs of the communities in respect of the necessity to maintain law and order. The membership of CPGs currently consists of 4,347, accounting for 166 groups.
While addressing the members of the Community Policing Group following the road march, the Minister of Public Security commended them for their effort in assisting the Guyana Police Force. He also promised to provide more resources to these groups.
Minister Ramjattan noted that the 41 years of existence for the CPG is a long journey but in the evolution of an institution that is important for the security of Guyana. He noted that it is significant of what the CPG members have done even without a salary.
“It is not like we do not have the complaints, even that poet that was doing the poem was lobbying that we must have salary someday, well better days are coming, and we may very well address that issue but all the endeavors and efforts you have put in, you have done a remarkable job to ensure especially in hot spots that you help in reducing the crime rate, and I want to commend that effort” Ramjattan added.
According to the Public Security Minister, the continued efforts of the CPG members will see more resources being provided to them during the upcoming months and years. He also implored on the members that they have to appreciate that not only the state has to make the input, as there are challenges that require CPG members themselves to put in the effort.
“Crime of the older type are having criminals doing them that are smarter today than when they were yester year like the stealing and the crimes against persons and all of that but more than that where the criminals are getting smarter we are also having a huge number of other types of crimes that the organization 41 years ago could not have foreseen, we are having a number of crime of the variety like trafficking in persons, what is called modern day slavery that is especially important to the CPG in the interior become acquainted with what this is all about so they can help supplement the police effort” he told those gathered.
Chairman of the National Community Policing Executive (NCPE), Mark Constantine urged the CPG members of the various groups to continue to work hard with professionalism and dedication. He added that the CPGs have come a long way but got a long way to go.
“We have not yet arrived but together we can and together we will. I will like to take the opportunity to thank all the chairman and executive and members of the divisions across the country for the effort that you put in voluntary spending your own resources and losing sleep at night many of you to do what you do, your effort is recognized and your effort is valued and your effort is respected” Constantine said.
Commander of ‘B’ Division who was also present at the CPG anniversary celebration noted that so far for the year, his division has seen a 12 percent decrease in crime when compared to the corresponding period last year.
Amsterdam added that the decrease could not have been possible without the effort of the members of the Community Policing Groups in the division.
During the period January to December 2016 the CPGs conducted (15, 918) vehicular patrols, (5, 729) motorcycle patrols, (1, 521) bicycle patrols, (1, 427) foot patrols, (857) boat patrols and (254) ATV patrols. There were (89) arrests ranging from murders to domestic violence.
The 41st-anniversary celebration is being observed under the theme “celebrating 41 years of partnership, supporting reform and development”