President Ali commits to ‘rebranding, retooling & restructuring’ police force
With corruption still prevalent in the Guyana Police Force, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday committed to ‘rebranding, retooling and restructuring’ the force to better serve and protect the citizens of Guyana.
The President was speaking at the Police Officers’ Annual Conference at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown.
The Commander-in-Chief charged the ranks to look at what changes and achievement the force would have adopted over the years as a result of the annual conference.
The theme for this year’s Conference is: Enhancing Professionalism, Police Community Relations and Confidence through continuous security sector reform and partnerships. The three-day conference will review and reexamine the force’s policy and management.
In his commitment to rebrand, retool, reengineer, reposition, restructure and repair the image of the force, the President said gaps must first be identified, after which an assessment of the force’s capability, must also be done and then look at ways to address these issues.
“The first issue is how we reposition ourselves, understanding where we are now as against where we should be, not where we ought to be,” the President said.
The President also called for more accountability from regional command and also said that specialised units in every region must be built to boost their capacities.
“The future will not give us the time to send in what is normally termed a high-level team from the Major Crimes to investigate something two days old in a different region, we have to have the capacity in the regions,” the Commander-in-Chief said.
The Systems Manpower Attitude Reliability and Technology (SMART) policing initiative was also touted by the President, which according to him, is important in moving forward.
It was also noted that the government heavily invested in the Police Force over the past seven months and it is expected that a new fleet of vehicles will arrive soon.
For the ranks of the force to better serve and protect, the President also made a personal commitment to ensuring better remuneration packages, better working conditions, better support to the families and helping ranks own a house.
“I give you my commitment and that of the government that we are in partnership with you to achieve one goal, better service to the people of our country,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police (ag), Nigel Hoppie, during remarks noted that the year 2020 was not without challenges, however, he noted despite this, the force’s overall performance is commendable.
“The past year has produced some challenges for the Guyana Police Force but the Force rose to those challenges admirably, utilising all its resources and once again withstood the many pressures cast upon it by various issues which arose from time to time,” Hoppie said.
The Commissioner said the force will continue its strategic proactive approach towards dealing with crime. The Police Force in 2020 recorded a 5.9% decrease in serious crimes, while road fatalities saw a 14% decrease.
A total of 136 illegal firearms were seized last year and so far for 2021, 12 firearms were seized. In terms of dismantling the illicit drug trade, 490 kilogrammes of cocaine were seized last year; this resulted in 29 cases being brought before the court and a total of 40 persons being charged. A total of 809 kg 479.2 grams of cannabis were also seized and destroyed of which 313 cases were brought before the court and 423 persons were charged.
Additionally, last year the Office of Professional Responsibility received 193 complaints against members of the force when compared to 303 in 2019.
Currently, there are 47 ranks before the court on criminal charges.
“We will continue to work diligently in terms of our raids, roadblocks, robust anti-crime patrol and intelligence network bolstered by division crime intelligence units and analytical work by way of data collected through the integrated crime information system,” the Commissioner pledged.