Police seeking to build citizens’ trust – community relations dept. revived

The relationship between communities and the police will be further strengthened as the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has officially re-established its Community Relations Department (CRD).

The CRD is responsible for ensuring preventative policing strategies, utilising proactive and reactive law enforcement, and community participation.

Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Robeson Benn, MP

Through intersocial activities such as sporting tournaments and friendly competitions, as well as educating residents on police duties and responsibilities, the department will foster a professional collaborative partnership between the police and the community.

Delivering the feature address during the opening of the new $10 million facility on Barrack Street, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, M.P, said the CRD will play a pivotal role in bridging the visible gap between communities and police, and will provide education to residents on how they ought to interact with officers.

“We still have misguided persons in communities who think that if the police want to effect an arrest, that it is appropriate to attack and prevent the arrest of persons who are doing and continue to do harm in the community. So, the Community Relations [Department}…will have to continue to engage at all levels…in relation to bringing about education, respect, engagement and understanding as to what the mission…of the Guyana Police Force is in having a safe society,” Minister Benn detailed.

Minister Benn said that the department will be critical in the reduction of crimes in various communities across the country.

“It is a difficult task, but we have to keep engaged to the Community Relations Department…so that we could deal with the criminal elements and so that we could avoid and mitigate…criminal activities,” he said.

Community Relations Department in Barrack Street, Kingston

Offering remarks Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken revealed that more preventative measures will be embraced by members of the GPF. This, he said, will build a higher level of trust between police officers and members of various communities.

“The training we are undergoing for the police now will not be confrontational. Of course, we have segregated policing where we have the crime patrols that deal specifically with crime, but the training that we are undergoing now with our young recruits is more preventative policing. So, you’re gonna see the police in and out of the communities…and by doing that we can build trust, we can build bridges and we can even partner in a more cohesive way,” Hicken explained.