Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn on Wednesday commissioned a new $60 million lock-up in the compound of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) ‘A’ Division headquarters, on Brickdam.
The new facility is expected to comfortably house 52 prisoners.
Minister Benn said it was built to realise the GPF’s mandate to treat detained persons humanely.
“We should not continue to have situations where we offer these people a brutalising experience for prisoners that we demeanour vow with respect to service and protection to the Guyanese public,” Minister Benn said.
Engaging the public with respect while they are detained is what defines the quality of service of the Force, the Minister said.
“Where we have to house people in the police stations, it should be respectful, it should be professional and it should be of a standard that is acceptable not only here in Guyana, but internationally,” the Minister underscored.
The Minister said today’s commissioning is the beginning of a new chapter for the Force. He expects that all stations will be kept tidy and the language and manner of officers, both amongst themselves and when interacting with the public, to be respectful.
The Home Affairs Minister added that he was looking to appoint an Inspector-General to the Force, whose task would be to ensure that stations are up to par.
The Inspector-General will be responsible for ensuring that “at all levels in respect of accommodation, conduct of our policemen, remind them of the training which they have received and to remind them of the standards which the public, who pay the taxes, that they are treated in a respectful manner and that they feel proud of us.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police (Ag.) Nigel Hoppie says the Force serves as a mere custodian of offenders while investigations are ongoing or while awaiting an appearance in court. To this end, the Top Cop said the Force “has an implicit responsibility to treat every suspect as innocent until proven guilty, which means that the procedures employed and holding facility used must be in compliance with the required standards.”