2017 budget seeks to build community relations to improve confidence-Public Security Minister

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, December 9, 2016

Evidence-based approach is needed to find workable solutions to why Guyana’s society is violent.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan commending the 2017 national budget in the National Assembly on Thursday noted, “Law enforcement cannot be the end all of solving crime.”

The 2017 budget has made allocation to the sum of $29.1B for the security sector. Minister Ramjattan pointed out that in 2017 monies will go towards building the capacity of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to meet the shortage of about 1,000 police officers.

“We have to ensure the further education of the police force and also giving them the assets,” the Public Security Minister told the National Assembly.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan

The GPF will see an increase in recruitment by 20 percent, procurement of vehicles and specialised equipment to improve mobility and response time to reported crimes, expanding patrols in key areas to deter crime, expanding surveillance utilising closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) at both airports and in the city, and strengthening the Office of Professional Responsibility to deal with rogue cops.

“Very important we want an elite set of policemen,” Minister Ramjattan said. The Minister noted that training from international partners such as the Justice Education Society will be continued in 2017 to improve the performance of police officers.

In addition to improving the efficiency of the GPF, the government will be carrying out Components One and Two of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) which seeks to improve community relations and work with young people towards reducing the incidence of violence and crime.

Over a 1,000 at risk young people will be enrolled to learn a technical vocational skill from 20 communities, as part of the CSSP. Minister Ramjattan said 4,000 young people are targeted over the next four years.

The Ministry of Public Security will be addressing the social side of crime in 2017 as a means of reducing it.  In 2017, 150 police officers will be trained in domestic violence scenario response, 150 police officers to be trained in police engagement and cooperation while 240 officers will be trained in criminal and forensic techniques.

Minister Ramjattan added that it is important to build community relations to restore confidence in the security services. To this effect, a number of studies on violence and social factors leading to them will be undertaken.

Highlighting achievements in 2016, Minister Ramjattan noted that there have been improvements in the reinforcement of the mounted branch which has been introduced to Berbice and Lethem. There has also been enhancement of the canine section. There was as well, the deployment of additional boats to the marine section, the Public Security Minister pointed out.

“We have done a lot of operations and exercises during the course of the year,” Minister Ramjattan said.

The National Drug Strategy Plan will be launched in December while the Trafficking in Persons Master Plan will be launched early in the new year, Minister Ramjattan pointed out.

Minister Ramjattan noted too that 2016 has recorded the lowest serious offences in the last 10 years. As of November 2016, some 3,100 serious offences were recorded.

By Tiffny Rhodius