President touts new Border Security Squad
With an increase in Venezuelan migrants to Guyana and cross-border threats, President David Granger on Thursday touted a new Border Security Squad to better police outlying regions.
This squad will come under the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) Tactical Services Unit (TSU).
“The Tactical Services Unit (TSU) will be expanded, a new border security squad will be expected to protect the country’s border ‘frontline communities’ in light of the migrations from regional and neighbouring countries.
“There are now more Venezuelan migrants in the country than there are Police officers in the Force…there are probably five migrants for every police man,” the President stated at the opening of the GPF’s annual officers’ conference at State House.
He said the various branches of the GPF will be upgraded to improve the force’s performance over the next decade.
He noted that there are 74 police stations, 24 outposts and six checkpoints which are inadequate for the territory, population and incidence of transnational crime.
“There have to be changes, so no part of the country remains unmanned and no crime remains undetected,” he noted.
He said the Marine Branch will be strengthened now that there is increased activity from the petroleum exploration companies and there is greater opportunity for crime.
Further, he said the Police’s Communications Branch will link every police station through a secure communications network.
Under the APNU+AFC Government, the Head of State said the Force’s transportation fleet has been increased with the addition of 338 new vehicles, police officers have begun using body cameras and the 911 emergency system was revamped to improve timely responsiveness.
He said funds to the force has increased from G$7.5B in 2014 to G$13.9 B in 2019.
Police Commissioner, Leslie James boasted of a decrease of 16% in serious crimes in 2019 and a reduction in road fatalities.
He said new police stations are equipped to better handle witness protection and domestic violence cases.
The police force is responsible for the provision of security on Elections Day across the country.
The annual police officers conference will run for three days during which topics including elections, the juvenile justice act and the escalation of the juvenile behaviors and migration will be discussed.
The conference is being held under the theme “Maintaining Security Sector reform implementation to enhance public trust, security and capacity building.”