As the Justice Education Society (JES) continues to aid in increasing the capacity of the Guyana Police Force, the Canadian organization has now moved to assist with the implementation of a video recording interrogation system by providing training and devices needed for such operations.
This mission to improve the efficiency of the crime fighting approach throughout the country has resulted in training programs conducted by officials attached to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) which saw about 40 ranks of the GPF receiving training and capacity building in the area of interviewing.
Following the successful completion of two such initiatives earlier this year, the JES on Thursday handed over three sets of recording equipment to be used in the newly established operations.
Speaking at the simple handing over ceremony was the Country Representative of JES, Rolanda Kirton.
In presenting the equipment, Kirton highlighted what prompted the move towards this direction.
She noted that the idea was birthed during the visit by the two Canadian officials who are criminal investigative interviewees. During their stint in Guyana, they recommended that the GPF should work towards implementing the video recording system so as to eliminate claims of coercion or inducement.
As such she noted, “In a sense, Guyana is playing catch up but everyone around the world would’ve started at some level and then developed going forward.”
Adding to that, Kirton indicated that there have been positive responses to the training with evidence of fruitful outcomes thus far, given that ranks have already been able to record successes with the use of the techniques learnt.
Meanwhile, welcoming the initiative was Acting Crime Chief Paul Williams who expressed gratitude to the JES for sourcing the recording devices and more so, their continued commitment to the GPF.
In doing so, he highlighted that this newfound approach adds glory to the Force’s investigation capacity, saying, “before, you can recall that many of times when there are confession statements persons continue to make allegations against the police in terms of where they were beaten, coerced, given promises and all these things.”
According to the Acting Crime Chief, it was towards that end that, “They (JES) realized that this deficiency can be corrected or addressed and there is where they have seen it fit and important for us to do these types of interviews on the recording.”
“So training sessions were conducted and they have seen, in terms of the ranks, how capable they are and definitely how it can work,” he relayed.
The video recording apparatus handed over to the GPF on Thursday are the property of RCMP, loaned to the JES for use in their works with the Guyana Police Force. However both parties are hopeful that the equipment will remain in Guyana, also paving the way for other such devices to be acquired.
The devices are expected to be stationed in B Division (Berbice), C Division (East Coast Demerara) and at the Headquarters of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in Georgetown.
However, in some other Divisions, officers have chosen to use simple camcorders as the Force seeks to adapt the video recording investigation approach countrywide.