‘The training is very effective’- CopSquad2000 participants

─ 1,000 police officers graduate programme

Some 1,000 officers of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) graduated from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s gender-based violence ‘CopSquad2000’ initiative on Friday at the National Cultural Centre, Georgetown.

Several graduates expressed how important the training is in the pursuit of mitigating violence across the country.

Marie Roberts- Pierre, an officer with eight years of experience, shared that the training was very effective.

“Everyone in the service who would’ve done the training will be able to counsel persons”, she said.

Roberts-Pierre also related that she is stationed at the Sports Secretariat where she will now be able better assist youths in need.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, Commissioner of Police (ag), Clifton Hicken, UN Resident Coordinator in Guyana Yeşim Oruç, graduates and other officials

“I work around a lot of young persons and I will use the knowledge I gained to counsel them and obviously, every person has a behaviour pattern and I will be able to pick up on that”, she noted.

Another graduate, Winette Calder shared that she is now more aware of the impact of domestic violence.

“I find the training to be very edifying… It is really important, growing up we know domestic violence mainly, they would say the father abusing the mother or it’s just a man and woman story but through the gender-based violence training, we realise that it is wider than that. And one of the things they taught me is to respect the reporters’ rights,” she stated.

Another graduate, John Manish shared similar sentiments.

“It has impacted me. Most of the time, police are first responders to cases of domestic violence, and being a first responder, you would need this kind of training to know that when you arrive at a home where you would’ve received a domestic report, you would know how to go about dealing with the report and not escalating the situation,” the officer related.

Meanwhile, with cases said to be steadily increasing especially against women and girls, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said the CopSquad initiative was carefully crafted to address all the missing elements in the GPF.

Certificate presented to a graduate by Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud

“I strongly believe that this initiative can bring the kind of control to the situation that is in so much escalation at this point in time. I believe it because, at the core of every country, the custodians of safety and peace are the members of the police force. At your feet lies the great responsibility to all the citizens of Guyana,” she stated.

Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn in his address, said the country is facing its highest rates of femicide.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn pinning the CopSquad badge on a graduate

“We have a wide door of opportunity in these matters, we have to stop killing our women, we men, and the issue of domestic violence relates to us men. We have to know when to walk away when to behave better,” the minister asserted.

Also, the Commissioner of the Guyana Police Force (ag), Clifton Hicken said the initiative is playing a crucial role in transforming the outlook of the Guyana Police Force.

Commissioner of the Guyana Police Force (ag), Clifton Hicken

This by itself is going to change the outlook in terms of the organisation, the Guyana Police Force. This is important for an organisation that is transitioning from a force to a service,” he pointed out.

The ministry has trained approximately 1,600 persons of which, one or two will be placed at each police station across the country.

Present at the ceremony were United Nations Resident Coordinator, Yeşim Oruç, and other officials.