18.8 percent decrease in serious crimes – Top Cop

Intelligence led policing and proactive strategies implemented by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) have led to an 18.8 percent reduction in serious crimes in 2021, a significant rate when compared to the previous year.

“There has been a concomitant 16.6 per cent decrease in murders with figures of 157 in 2020 and 131 in 2021 and a 31.5 per cent decrease in robberies under arms with figures of 888 in 2020 and 608 in 2021. Of note, last year’s figures were the best in the last decade,” said Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie.

He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the Police Officers’ conference on Thursday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre. He said despite the decrease in serious crimes, the force recorded 204 cases of rape in 2021, compared to 202 in 2020.

It was also related that as of March 8, 2022, there has been a 16 percent decrease in serious crimes compared to the same period in 2021.

Nevertheless, he noted that “firearms were used during 565 incidents of robberies under arms in 2020 and on 399 occasions in 2021. A total of 12 persons lost their lives in armed robberies in 2021, the same figures sin 2020.”

Commissioner of Police (ag), Nigel Hoppie

In addition, a total of 71 firearms were recovered in 2021 including 36 pistols, 18 revolvers and 17 shot guns. As of March 10, 16 illegal fire arms were recovered.

The top cop also disclosed that 536 kilogrammes of cocaine was seized during police operations resulting in 42 cases and 49 persons being charged last year. A total of 589 kilogrammes of cannabis was seized with 389 cases being made and 419 persons charged.

The police eradicated 131 fields of cultivated marijuana weighing 2.8 million kilogrammes last year, along with quantities of dry cannabis weighing 3,082 kilogrammes. Those exercises saw 11 cases taken before the courts and 16 persons being charged.

The GPF has also made headway in curbing fatal accidents, recording 32 percent reduction in 2021, with 87 in 2021, against 128 in 2020. This was coupled with a 29 percent decrease in road fatalities with 99 in 2021 compared to 139 in 2020.

Commissioner Hoppie said pedestrians and motor cyclists were the major category of road users who lost their lives, with speeding and driving under the influence being the lead causes.

Meanwhile, as of March 8 this year, there has been a 9.5 reduction in road fatalities. In 2022, there were 19 fatalities from 15 accidents compared to 21 fatalities from 20 accidents last year.

 “It is anticipated that the vibrant road infrastructure development being carried out by government, coupled with continued vigorous traffic enforcement and education, the observing of the five Cs, care, courtesy, consideration, caution and common sense together with the conformation to the road safety rules and regulations by all category of road users and the continued assistance given by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Public Works and the National Road Safety Council, will combine to further reduce the occurrence of fatal accidents and road fatalities.”

Addressing the issue of domestic violence, the commissioner said members of the force have been undergoing continuous training to effectively deal with the issue. He said the force has been executing internal training, collaborating with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, where ranks are undergoing strategic training to ensure their preparedness to deal with cases and victims of domestic abuse.

“Domestic violence units have been established at the criminal investigations department and in every policing region throughout our country. The availability of statistics reveal that the police received and dealt with 1,692 reports of domestic violence during last year 2021, resulting in 814 cases and 814 persons were charged. This is in comparison to 1,665 reports in 2020 where 71 cases were made and 771 persons were charged,” Hoppie stated.

The top cop highlighted that the force continues to make progress in dealing with trafficking in persons. He further related that 35 reports were made in 2021 which resulted in 18 cases and 11 persons being charged. That is compared to 39 reports made in 2020 with eight cases and two persons charged in 2020.

The Police Officers’ Conference which began on March 10, is slated to conclude on March 12. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Promoting Improvement of Public Trust and Confidence, Maintaining Safety and Security Through Competence, Professionalism and Partnership.’