Hicken aims to reduce youth crime with skills training


The Guyana Police Force will be rolling out a youth programme soon aimed at reducing juvenile criminal activities and empowering youths to be law-abiding citizens.

This is according to Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken who made the announcement at a diaspora engagement on Tuesday evening, which was organized and facilitated by the Diaspora Unit within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Police ranks engage in a basketball game with youths at Vryheid’s Lust, ECD

The engagement focused specifically on the country’s security sector.

In his detailed presentation, Commissioner Hicken referred to an analysis which he said has shown an increase in the youth prison population. And so, he said the Police Force will increase its level of engagement with youths, especially in vulnerable communities.

“We found that youths are perpetrating crimes against themselves and others and in the prison, as we speak, there is an increase of youths going to the prison because of community pressure, peer pressure or otherwise negatively influence,” the top cop told members of the diaspora.

The engagement with the communities will seek to identify where the problems are and intervene at the earliest stage. Hicken said the Police Force has been working with communities for years and it is for this reason he believes the programme will be successful.

The programme will see the training of youths in various skill sets such as carpentry, masonry and welding among others.

“We are preparing them for the world of work in their community through what we call a community relations unit,” Hicken said.

This new unit is being established to ensure the programme is sustainable.

According to Hicken, the formulation of a community foundation department has already started and will be managed by members of the public and the Force.

The Police Force is also pursuing partnerships with other entities, such as the Private Sector so that when the youths have completed their training, they can get employment, and “that by itself will mitigate crime and violence,” Hicken said.

Further collaborations will see the Ministry of Labour involved to execute the skills training courses.

Hicken encouraged members of the diaspora to support the programme and get on board “to add value in a structured and comprehensive way.”

Meanwhile, the acting Police Commissioner also spoke about the changes and modernisation of the Force and further told the diaspora that with their expertise and knowledge, the Police Force will further improve.

“We are moving the Force from the basic training in training school and we have moved to another level where they are trained at the tertiary level both professionally and academically,” Hicken stated.

Additionally, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud said the government sees the diaspora as a valuable resource in transforming and moving the country forward.

“Over the many decades and years, a primary concern of the diaspora has always been one of security whether people are visiting or whether people want to remigrate and there is always this perception that we need to do much more in addressing security,” the Foreign Secretary said.

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