Police Commissioner Leslie James has urged ranks to desist from accepting bribes from members of the public. He also stated clearly that the Force will be prosecuting members of the public who offer bribes to police officers since the offence is a “two-way street” involving both givers and takers.
The Top Cop issued the warning on Monday at the opening ceremony of a training programme at the Officers’ Training Centre, Camp Street, Georgetown, where he said that he is looking for a change in performance of ranks and fewer allegations of corruption in terms of bribery claims.
“Once there is no offer, there can’t be acceptance. It goes both sides, offer and acceptance, and let me warn you civilians, we are coming after you, those of you who are offering,” he said.
He charged that too often, members of the public are committing offences and then offering bribes to ranks then making claims that police are taking bribes. “You just cannot offer and then going and telling people ‘police tekking bribe’. It is better for you to say ‘civilians [are] offering bribes and police [are] taking bribes,” James said.
He added that while the Force will be engaging particular departments to tackle this issue; if the ranks believe that their salaries are too small, they should tender their resignation.
He told ranks that their uniforms, conduct and performance reflect the image of the Guyana Police Force and as such, they should conduct themselves in a professional manner and execute their duties in accordance with the Force’s Standard Operating Procedures.
Last year, several policemen were charged after it was alleged that they accepted bribes. On October 29, 2018, three former police ranks were jailed for one year and fined for accepting a G$6 million bribe back in September 2015.
Corporal Shawn McPhoy of 174 Laing Avenue, West Ruimveldt, Constable Ray Drepaul Saul of Eversham, Corentyne, and Constable Trevon McKenzie of Princeton, Corriverton, Corentyne, were charged jointly for the offence, which was committed between September 10 and 11, 2015.
The ranks had received information that a route 63 A minibus would usually be transporting drugs, guns and cash. They were provided with the vehicle number and the travel schedule for the minibus.
While in the vicinity of Springlands, East Berbice-Corentyne, they observed the vehicle and decided to stop it to conduct a search during which they discovered that the vehicle was indeed transporting a very large quantity of cocaine and cash at the time.
It is alleged that the ranks on patrol entered into negotiation with the occupants of the vehicle which led to the occupants of the vehicle handing over G$6 million in cash to the ranks. The ranks then allowed the vehicle to continue its journey and even provided some amount of escort for the vehicle before returning to a police station. The ranks have all since appealed the decision and have since been placed on G$50,000 bail each.