Days of hiding Police misdeeds over – President Granger
By Bibi Khatoon
The Guyana Police Force Annual Officers’ Conference commenced Thursday with an address from Commander in Chief, President David Granger who sounded a stern warning that the wrongdoings of Police Officers will no longer be covered up.
In the presence of Commissioner of Police, Leslie James and high ranking officers, the Head of State made it clear that senior officers will also be penalized if they are found culpable.
“The days of concealing security sector mistakes and misdeeds are over. The Force’s officers will be held accountable for the consequences of their actions and for the instructions that they issue to their subordinates,” the Head of State told Divisional Commanders and others gathered at State House.
The President noted that in 2019, the Security Sector reform will be accelerated with the aim of increasing public trust and confidence in the Police Force while improving its level of competence.
He called on senior officers to move away from their desk jobs and inspect offices, vehicles and other Force equipment to ensure they are in working order.
Deputy Commissioner, Paul Williams said there were 392 complaints against Police Officers in 2018 compared to 644 complaints in 2017 –a 39% decrease.
He disclosed that a total of 211 departmental charges were instituted while seven Police Officers faced criminal charges for various wrongdoings in 2018 compared to 199 departmental charges and eight criminal charges in 2017.
“Most of our complaints hinged on the neglect of duty where our ranks fail to do what they ought to do in keeping with the standing orders, poor ethical decisions and poor supervisions. However, stern and evasive actions are taken,” Commissioner Williams noted.
The Office of Professional Responsibility is mandated to address issues of police misconduct.
Additionally, efforts are ongoing to hire more Police Officers and implement divisional management. The Force has approximately 4,600 officers with 73 Police Stations and 34 outposts.
According to Williams, the topics which will be addressed during the three-day conference include security during the upcoming General and Regional Elections which may be this year.
Officers will also discuss the power of the Police to ‘Stop Search and Detain’, the Code for Prosecutors, the new Juvenile Justice Act, private security growth and its implications, security at the new Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and inter-agency collaborations on oil and gas.
The Guyana Police Force is celebrating its 180th anniversary this year.