Trust, corruption major challenges facing Police Force – Ramnarine
…60% of complaints are about neglect
With the state of public confidence in the Guyana Police Guyana (GPF) being at best tenuous, acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine has charged police officers to employ every effort to eradicate corruption and strive to rebuild trust in the Force.
During the opening ceremony of several training courses for various ranks of the GPF, on Monday at the Police Officers’ Training Centre at Eve Leary, Georgetown, Ramnarine made the above charge, and told the roomful of officers that the success of any organisation depends on the integrity of its officials. He also noted that inspiring trust and eradicating corruption are two major challenges facing the GPF.
In this regard, he underscored the importance of the training programmes in imbuing in law enforcement officials cognizance of the importance of trust, transparency and accountability.
“You are specifically chosen because you are our frontline officers who interface daily with the general public, and the quality of that interaction will either aggravate or alleviate,” he declared.
He told officers that most people want to respect the police, but if police do not cultivate in the public that trust in law enforcement institutions, public confidence would not be forthcoming.
“If you are respectful, fair, patient, courteous and humble, and if you can be trusted and relied on by the public and your colleagues, then our organisation and country at large will be better off,” he admonished.
Against this backdrop, Ramnarine said the training programmes would inculcate the much-needed people skills in members of the Force, and train ranks to perform their duties with sincerity and professionalism.
“It’s not just coming on a training programme and going through a period…the whole intention is that when you would have left or completed this programme, you are expected to be a better policemen or woman, and your behaviour and attitude have to reflect this,” he explained.
He pointed out that the Police Force has made major strides in expanding its focus on youth, revamping its learning driver theory, building capacity in the Criminal Investigation Department, strengthening its intelligence-gathering capacity, implementing a new concept of community policing, and establishing gender-based violence units in each division, among other things.
He, however, noted that the GPF is still grappling with increasing complaints of neglect, simply because of the negative attitudes and demeanors police officers employ when engaging the public.
In quoting a report from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Ramnarine highlighted that security is an increasing concern in Latin America. “High rates of crime affect almost every area of development in a region undergoing rapid social change… The lack of trust and confidence in the ability of authorities – and in this case, law enforcement officials in particular – to protect (people) and keep their (families) safe has contributed to a sense of instability,” he read.
In this regard, he disclosed that a whopping 60 per cent of all complaints received by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) on a daily basis are directly related to various forms of neglect arising from either poor supervision or, in many cases, no supervision at all.