SWAT Unit was not needed at bank robbery-Police Sources


By Leroy Smith

During the attempted robbery of the Republic Bank Water Street branch on Tuesday (July 04, 2017), the Guyana Police Force did not deploy its SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Unit.

The non-deployment of the Police Force’s SWAT Unit has attracted some level of criticisms from members of the public, especially in the case where one employee of the bank was held hostage with a gun to his head by one of the bandits.

On Thursday (July 06, 2017), the News Room sought and received comments from senior police officers within the Guyana Police Force who spoke about the non-deployment but asked that their names not be mentioned.

It was communicated to the News Room that several things ought to be taken into consideration before the deployment of the SWAT Unit. In the case of the Tuesday’s attempted Bank Robbery, it was disclsoed that there was not an immediate need for the unit as the assessment which was done on the ground proved that the Guyana Police Force and Security Company had the situation under control.

One senior police officer pointed out that before the SWAT Unit is deployed, the members of the Unit would need to be outfitted with gears and in addition to that, the Unit is not deployed to a robbery in progress.

The officer explained that “the unit has to receive information and after that they will move to a pre-determined target such as if there was a hold up in the house or a building or if there was a stand-off.”

The News Room understands the explanation to mean that if the bandits had spent a prolonged period in the bank and had hostages, the SWAT Unit would have been deployed to provide support to the troops on the ground.

One of the bandits was captured inside the building on Tuesday while the other two were captured outside the building as they attempted to escape.

The early morning drama saw a hail of bullets being discharged by both bandits and personnel from the police and security service which responded to the distress call.

In the end one of the bandits was killed and two other taken into custody.

The operations of the bank were frozen for two days but reopened today, Thursday, July 06, 2017. When the News Room revisited the location we observed that persons were entering the bank as well as its ATM boot.

The police are continuing their search for two other suspects who were believed to have been part of the robbery.

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