Current, new police ranks must learn foreign language
Prospective and current members of the Guyana Police Force must learn to speak a second language as part of a new policy being implemented by the Force.
The ranks, who already know English, will have to learn either Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French or Mandarin.
This was revealed by Deputy Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Administration, Calvin Brutus at the launch of the Security Specific Language Programme in collaboration with the University of Guyana (UG) on Monday.
Brutus explained that the Police Force has recognised deficiencies linked to language barrier in policing in Guyana’s diverse and growing society.
And so, the force aims to promote a safer country where officers can speak the same language as civilians they encounter.
It will prevent misunderstandings and officers would be able to give evidence in Court when required.
“When new members join the Guyana Police Force and enter into Felix Austin Police Training College or its subsidiaries across the country, they are required to select one of the six languages of which they will not be permitted to switch programmes until completion.
“It will also be part of the requirement to graduate to become full-fledged members of the Guyana Police Force,” Brutus related.
On Monday only three foreign languages courses were launched – Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin- but Brutus highlighted that soon the other language courses will roll out.
These courses are beginners’ courses and once successful, the applicants can move on to the advanced stages.
“This policy will be fully supported by the force by exposing our members in batches over a period sufficient to make sure that everyone satisfies the criteria,” Brutus said.
But with more than 5,000 members, the aim to train every member of the Police Force will be a challenge.
To counter this, the Force has formulated a strategy where the languages will be offered as electives in the recruit curriculum at the Felix Austin Training College.
Additionally, the computer centres in the various police divisions will also be used to conduct language training.
“Essentially the foreign language courses will be continuous to equip existing members with the language skills needed and also for prospective members and applicants joining the Police Force,” Brutus said.
The language programme is being facilitated by UG’s Faculty of Education and Humanities, Language Centre.
UG’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin said the language training is part of the five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the university inked with the Police Force last year.
“The University of Guyana is delighted to play its role in the aspect of the nation’s security and in doing so we recognised that there are quite a number of migrants and persons who are non-English speakers coming to the country, residing in the country for work or coming over the borders fleeing hardships,” the Vice-Chancellor said.