Settlement of matters outside court, lack of public cooperation among challenges facing GPF – Crime Chief

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Persons settling matters outside of the courtroom coupled with the failure and/or reluctance of the public to aid the police in securing CCTV footage of crimes are two major challenges that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is presently grappling with.

According to Acting Crime Chief, Senior Superintendent Michael Kingston, such challenges, which are outside of the Force’s control, are causing hindrances to the duties that law enforcement officials are tasked with executing.

At a police press conference held last week, he explained that there are multiple contributing factors that result in criminals or persons with criminal intent remaining on the streets and that while local cops are willing to nab the perpetrators, there is a need for greater collaboration with the public.

Kingston noted that there are many cases where robbery victims have resorted to settling those matters outside of a courtroom, resulting in the guilty parties being able to walk the streets freely and possibly committing more crimes.

He emphasised that this, coupled with challenges in securing CCTV footage when crimes occur, has major negative effects on the police’s work on a frequent basis.

The Crime Chief (ag) further stated that even when evidence is obtained and matters are forwarded to the courts for justice to be served, some witnesses fail to cooperate and that this is another thorn in the side for investigators.

“And then we have issues where witnesses are failing to attend court. While I agree at times, some of them are not being warned adequately to attend court some are definitely not going to court at all. Even when they are being warned.”

However, Kingston did not shy away from the fact that internal problems in the GPF also contribute significantly towards the lack of progress in the crime prevention area. He acknowledged that the police, too, need to make necessary changes in various areas and added that work is ongoing to correct internal flaws.

“We do have challenges…proper monitoring of patrols, roadblocks, cordon and search exercise. In the area of communication, there is not adequate communication and feedback between investigators, members of the public. We have been enhancing our protective gears aspect and that is what we are doing at the moment [but] corruption continues to plague us as well as recidivism,” Kingston added.