Physical assets of the Police Force must be better managed – President Ali

– Says Government is committed to improving the lives and welfare of GPF ranks

His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, today recommitted to improving the Guyana Police Force (GPF) while charging its members to do their best in managing the assets allotted to them.

President Ali made the remarks before handing over a fleet of 50 new double-cab pickup trucks to the GPF at the Police Sports Club ground, Eve Leary.

“I want to be frank with you. We support the work of the Police Force and will provide it with the resources needed, but the Force needs to take better care of its transportation equipment. The provision of resources must be accompanied by greater responsibility in their use and care.”

His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali.

The President noted that the public is “appalled at the level of misuse and reckless driving” of many of the GPF’s vehicles.

He emphasised that the physical assets of the Force must be better managed. To accomplish this, it was announced that training programmes will be developed.

“We will have to do an assessment of our capacity to manage these assets and to find a way that is more reliable, efficiently and less costly that would deliver the results in managing these vehicles. The vehicles provided to the Force must not be used for joyrides, no. The assets being provided to the Force are to boost its capability, its responsiveness and people will judge us by the way in which we care for and use these assets.”

The Head of State explained that the addition of the 50 new vehicles is expected to enhance the Force’s mobility and response, which he noted has been severely handicapped by the lack of serviceable vehicles.

He pointed out that although the People’s Republic of China handed over a fleet of 140 vehicles in 2017, featuring 56 pickup trucks, five buses, 35 All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and 48 motorcycles; when he assumed office, only 39 out of the 140 were working. He said that 101 of the vehicles were down for repairs with most of them being unserviceable.

ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM

The Head of State said that in order to enhance the Force, it is necessary to address its problems.

He made reference to the Security Sector Reform Study of 2017, which noted the Forces’ deficiencies included “chronic underfunding, shortages of vehicles and the poor state of the vehicular fleet, the lack of adequate communication equipment and poor maintenance of physical assets”.

Recognising those and other deficiencies, the President indicated that his Government’s 2020 manifesto committed to “providing more equipment, facilities and training; improving investigative and forensic capabilities; increasing the use of modern technology and intelligence in the fight against crime, including cybercrime; expanding intelligence gathering and promoting more intelligence-led policing; providing better remuneration and conditions of service for members of the Force; and enhancing security capabilities in the Hinterland”.

He added that the focus is heavily geared towards proactive policing.

The President emphasised that the Government is committed to proving the Police Force with the resources it needs to keep our citizens safe, including training, provision of modern equipment and adequate vehicles and enhanced capacity for rapid response.

HOLISTIC APPROACH TO CRIME-FIGHTING

Creating a robust approach to crime-fighting, according to the President, depends on a Force that is nimble, united, focused and professional.

“The Force must also be capable of withstanding public scrutiny of operating in a transparent and open manner, and doing things within the confines of the laws.”

He said that the success of the GPF depends on several measures, including the right physical assets to combat crime. 

Human resource personnel, in quantity and quality, and the right partnership in crime-fighting and strategising are also very important according to the Head of State.  

“In all three of these areas, we have been working to provide an enabling environment to make the investment that is critical for us to have a holistic approach to the development of the Force.”

President Ali explained that in addition to the provision of physical assets, many of the men and women of the GPF are enrolled in the GOAL scholarship programme, while other scholarship programmes are also in the pipeline. 

“Very soon we will be launching a number of programmes in the field of forensic science which will be financed by the Government on a scholarship basis for the Guyana Police Force.”

The President pointed out that his Government is prepared to invest in other important areas including specialised training in transnational crime, strategic management, mentoring and coaching and building of the Force’s in-house capacity to address technological challenges and opportunities.

“In all of these areas we are committed to ensuring that we make the necessary investments.”

PERSONAL PROGRESS

The President also noted that the Government has a responsibility to the ranks and assured them that his administration is going to continuously work on initiatives that will “not only look at your salary benefits but also look at your personal development, the welfare of your family and importantly, supporting you in achieving essential necessities of life like owning your own home, like ensuring you have access to the highest levels of education and ensuring your children are also taken care of”.

CITIZENS’ CONCERNS

President Ali said that he is aware of the existing concerns about incidents of robberies and acts of violence committed against citizens and he is urging the Police to take condign action to bring an early end to those criminal attacks and assaults.

“Citizens must be able to walk the streets unmolested and free from fear. Similarly, home invasions must be curbed.”

The President added that while the Force has faced some challenges in combatting domestic violence, the recent launch of the COPSQUAD initiative, which will provide training to some 2,000 police ranks in dealing professional and promptly with domestic violence reports, should help in addressing the issue.

He also said that successful policing requires the support of communities. He said this was being stymied by the reduction in Community Policing Groups between 2015 and 2020. As of March this year, the President pointed out that there had been a 20% reduction in Community Policing groups and a 40% reduction in membership.

Also attending today’s handing-over ceremony were Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, the Honourable Anil Nandlall; Minister of Home Affairs, the Honourable Robeson Benn; National Security Advisor, Captain Gerry Gouveia; Acting Police Commissioner, Mr Nigel Hoppie and other high-ranking officers of the GPF. 

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