Police Force is ‘behind the curve’ but capable of improving- Benn
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn says the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has not been able to respond sufficiently to emerging developmental issues but he believes that the law enforcement body can improve its overall performance.
Benn spoke at the opening ceremony of the GPF’s Symposium on Thursday.
According to Benn, the Police Force is “behind the curve” in responding to issues of development in the country including those that relate to the oil and gas and natural resource sectors.
“The Guyana Police Force is the tip of the spear in ensuring peace and security in our country.
“… Given our development and history in our country…and the challenges which abound now in respect to transnational organised crime, it is an invidious task,” the Home Affairs Minister said however.
To address both new and existing issues, Benn contended that there is a need for a more academic, statistically- driven and humanistic approach.
He also reminded the gathering that integrity and professionalism should be maintained at all times.
“We have to set the example and the standards…We need to perhaps be more bold, more innovative, more open minded in relation to these issues and to have the contemplations which will make policing better in our country,” he noted.
He also said Police Stations should be “properly outfitted” to better serve people.
“We want the public to feel that the police station is a welcoming place for people. That it is a place for help…they should be treated in a respectful manner and that they should be helped.
“The police station must be a place…of providing help or some sanity for persons who are in stress. It cannot happen overnight but we have to work at it regularly and daily,” he said.
The need for the Force to adapt and evolve was also emphasised by Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken.
He said in an “ever evolving society,” Police Officers face “complex” challenges that demand a proactive and collaborative approach.
“… as a law enforcement organisation, we are challenged by issues ranging from how we handle victims and perpetrators or crime to how we respond to traffic accidents,” he pointed out.
As such, Hicken said utilising the symposium to address the challenge will vastly improve the Force’s performance and reinforce its commitment to the oath to offer service and protection.
“…Henceforth the police will no longer be working in isolation but we are going to serve the public through their intervention, through their experiences and through their collaboration…So we are going to derive solutions to mitigate against any conflict as we strive,” the Top Cop stressed.
The symposium is being held at the Officers’ Mess Annex, Eve Leary under the theme ‘Improving Police performance through stakeholder’s approach’.
At this two-day conference, stakeholders will deliberate on what actions can be taken to improve the performance of the Force.
During the discussions, various policies, regulations and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) governing the force will be reviewed and amended. New policies can be established to meet the contemporary needs of law enforcement in the country.