U.S. Government through the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs launched the Strengthening of the Criminal Justice System in Guyana project in September 2016. The goal of this project is to strengthen the integrity and responsiveness of Guyana’s justice system.
A large part of the Project focuses on enhancing the knowledge and skills of the Guyana Police Force (GPF). In response to requests by the Guyana Police Force, the project continues to work with the Force to improve the capacity of GPF ranks to conduct investigations of major crimes and to interview witnesses and suspects in major crime cases.
To that end, the project organized several activities in January 2018, including:
1.A five-day training on major case management for investigators for 31 ranks on January 15-19 (now completed);
2.A five-day training on major case management for investigators for 34 ranks on January 22-26 (completed);
3.A five-day coaching activity on interviewing for previously-trained ranks on January 15-19 (now completed);
4.A five-day training on interviewing witnesses and suspects in major crime cases on January 22-26 (completed).
Canadian experts Superintendent Douglas Kiloh (retired) and Superintendent James Hardy (retired) travelled to Guyana to conduct the major case management for investigators training. Both Supt. Kiloh and Supt. Hardy have over 30 years of experience in policing, and extensive exposure to major criminal investigations.
Drawing on the wealth of their experience and using a mock robbery scenario and real-life examples, the trainers led sessions on the principles of major case management, as well as the tools and techniques available to investigators to aid them in conducting investigations. The trainers also focused on soft skills essential in policing, including leadership, accountability to the public and commitment to ethical conduct. Superintendent Douglas Kiloh (retired) reports that “the detectives in the training sessions are showing great interest in building new skills using the concepts of major case management and investigative techniques.” Superintendent James Hardy (retired) feels that the training “will go a long way to improving the quality of investigations for the GPF.”
Consistent with its commitment to local ownership and sustainability of project results, the project involved four local GPF trainers to assist in the delivery of the January 15-19 course and to conduct and facilitate several sessions. These trainers will eventually take over the teaching of the entire course. In addition, the project drew on a cadre of local project-trained GPF ranks to expose participants to other areas of expertise within the Police Force that may be relevant to investigations of major crime. In particular, the Head of the GPF Forensic Video Analysis (FVA) unit conducted a presentation on forensic video, while a project-trained police prosecutor came in to answer participants’ questions on elements of offence.
Canadian interviewing expert Inspector Donald Adam (retired) conducted training and coaching sessions for GPF ranks on interviewing witnesses and suspects in the context of major crimes. 22 ranks participated in the interviewing training course. Assisted by local GPF trainers, Mr. Adam used a mock scenario to engage participants in a range of hands-on exercises, which enabled participants to put their interviewing techniques to the test. When asked his view on the impact of the training Adam said that he is “heartened to observe the GPF ranks who are in the courses increase their capacity to interview both suspects and witnesses with modern police techniques. This approach will not only benefit the GPF but the citizens of Guyana.”
In addition to these training activities, the project conducted a mid-term evaluation for the project to document progress made to date and any issues and improvements that the project can introduce in its last year. Over the course of one week, Judge Michael Hicks of the Provincial Court of British Columbia (retired), along with Project Manager Evelyn Neaman, JES Executive Director Sonia Poulin and JES Country Representative Rolinda Kirton, met with a wide range of stakeholders. These included representatives of the Judiciary, the Guyana Police Force, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and members of the media. Results of this evaluation will be used to identify lessons learned in the project and to further improve its quality.
GPF Participants of the January 15-19 major case management for investigators course receiving much needed donated notebooks.
Assistant Commissioner Paul Williams meets with the Strengthening the Criminal Justice System in Guyana project team .Left to Right Judge Michael Hicks (retired), Rolinda Kirton, Evelyn Neaman, Paul Williams, Sonia Poulin, James Hardy.
Inspector Don Adam (retired) demonstrating best practices in interviewing skills for investigators during the January 15-19 coaching session.
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