[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee said that if the public has a more favourable assessment of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), it will gain added public confidence and support in fighting crime and addressing related social issues.
The Home Affairs Ministry has been championing overall reform of the Force and other agencies under its remit, with one of the main objectives being the improvement of the GPF and the building of closer police-civilian relations.
Speaking to members of the Force, the Minister said, “You should remember that, to a large extent that you function as members of the Force with the consent of the public. Therefore, public acceptance of the Force is tied in with your ability to be successful in maintaining law and order.”
He urged police ranks, particularly those who are new to the profession to get acquainted with the social contract theory which underscores the role of police in society.
The authority of the police is derived from the public through a social contract, which states that the purpose of the state is to better protect the rights that people already possess (right to life, liberty and property).
“Citizens enter a bargain in which they agree to give up their power to enforce their own rights to the state and trust that the state will use this power to benefit the public. As an agent of the state, the police are bound by this social contract. Their power is held as a public trust,” the Minister said.
He called on the ranks to ensure that the integrity and image of the Force remain intact since this could impact the extent to which more public support could be garnered. He also emphasised the importance of ranks of the Force to respect the basic human rights of every person regardless of whether they are accused or convicted.
“You should be reminded that you have the responsibility to both address and protect the rights of persons in custody, for policing to be effective it must first be lawful and humane. You are all aware of the damage that could be caused to good police cases when you breach the human rights of persons who are arrested,” the Minister said.
[Extracted from GINA]