Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Dr Irfaan Ali, today charged the Guyana Police Force (GPF) members to give their best in service to the Guyanese people while underscoring the need for structural changes going forward.
The Head of State, who was at the time addressing the GPF’s Annual Conference at the National Cultural Centre, emphasised the requirements to advance the Force’s mandate. He explained that the Force must undertake restructuring, repositioning, rebranding, reorganising, retooling, reengineering, and the repairing of its image and service delivery.
“Guyana’s future is going to change; are we preparing ourselves for that change? Or are we transiting in a normal pace to what the future requires us to be? If we are doing that, we are marking time.”
The President said that change is necessary with our overall development and pointed to the benefits of structured transformation to the Force. He noted that change is a systematic process and that the priority is for the Lawmen to understand their current position against where they ought to be.
Such an analysis, he added, would result in identifying the gaps in the Force, both external and internal.
“In doing this, we then have to do a realistic assessment of our capability, our weaknesses, our strength, the opportunities that are there, the direction in which the country is going, and the Force is going. And the requirement and the future demands of the Force.”
As a result of this, he stressed that regionalisation and strengthening of regional capacity must be scrutinised.
The President spoke about the possibilities of having “specialised units” in every region to support the regular team, especially in terms of major crime. He said his vision is to have all the regions armed with self-sufficient units to mitigate and investigate all levels of crime.
To achieve this, capacity must be increased and built within the regions. It must not be a top-down, top-heavy approach, but an integrated one with optimal execution at all levels.
In restructuring the organisation, the Head of State noted that the overall goal has to be efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness with the clarity of a single vision.
“No individual or group is running a separate arm of the Force. There must be one common vision, one approach- a singular approach that is only confined to service to the people. Very important, the clarity of vision, the clarity of purpose, the clarity of action.”
The Head of State also stressed on the importance of building trust with the general public and pointed out that it is time for the Force’s image to be enhanced.
“You can have the best structure but the worst brand. You can have the best people, and let me say this; the Guyana Police Force has talented, highly qualified, skilled officers and personnel. We are not lacking in that department at all, but one of the issues we have is the brand. You could have the best product but if you have a bad brand, you have problems so we reposition, we restructure and we have to look at rebranding. What does rebranding mean to us? How do we want to be known to the people out there, and the world at large? What image we want for ourselves? How do we achieve this brand success?”
The President also pointed to the “Smart Policing” phrase and said that the acronym can be used as a guideline.
S.M.A.R.T refers to Systems, Manpower, Attitude, Reliability and Technology, while P.O.L.I.C.I.N.G denotes People, Learning, Integrity, Community, Intelligence, Networking and Goal-oriented.
“Sometimes we need to unlearn habits and learn new habits. Even at the level of the President, every day, it is continuous learning. That is the only way we can remain grounded, when we understand that we can all make mistakes, but we must all commit ourselves to learning and unlearning, and relearning. That is what keeps us fresh. That is what keeps the brain fresh and active, our enthusiasm and motivation to learn.”
In addition to repositioning, restructuring, rebranding and reorganising, the Head of State stressed the need to retool the Force in terms of physical assets. He reminded them that the Government, over the last seven months, has invested heavily in the GPF as it relates to retooling.
“We have to have a better working environment for you. If we want to create the respect too, we have to build the environment that gives that respect, and I agree with that. We have to give the right environment for the policing.”
President Ali also noted that the Force’s approach must be reengineered to lead to greater efficiency and better procedures.
“In doing all of this, we have to repair; we have to repair our image, we have to repair how we are perceived, we have to repair relationships, we have to repair the organisational structure, and we have to repair our brand. Repairing this must be guided by professionalism, must be guided by people, and must be guided by patriotism.”
The President added that the police force is often under scrutiny, so upholding high standards and professionalism are necessary.
“You can be the best Force, but there are some boundaries and principles you should never cross, and no one should allow you to cross. It is not only the internal environment that looks at you, it is the external environment.”
The Head of State added that he will “support the best for the Force. I will work every day to get the best outcome, but there are some boundaries that inherently all of us must swear to uphold and protect. There is no compromise on those principles and boundaries”.
He told the Lawmen that moving forward, they need to embrace change. “We have to be in a state of readiness; a readiness to embrace change, to embrace new ways, to embrace goals, vision, strategic thinking that adds to the betterment of the Force and greater service to the people.”
The Head of State said that members of the GPF can look forward to recognition, reward and respect from the Government.
“We have responsibilities to recognise you when you perform, to recognise you when you achieve results, to reward you. Our economy will be growing, and I agree that we have to work on making the reward better, and we will make it a priority.”