Although the manpower of the Community Policing Organization in Guyana has already surpassed the strength of the Guyana Police Force, a call is being been made for more citizens to join community policing groups in their area.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan believes there is value in having a larger voluntary policing organization than a paid police force.
The Minister made the call during a press conference on Wednesday as he placed the spotlight on the 41st anniversary of community policing.
Community policing groups (CPGs) have over the years assisted the work of an understrength police force and have grown to 166 groups with a total 4347 members.
Ramjattan boasted that community policing groups have provided exemplary service to the police force and conducted well over 30,000 patrols in 2016 leading to the arrest of persons wanted from crimes ranging from murders to domestic violence.
He said there still remains a need for more citizens to CPGs as it remains an important supplement to the Guyana police force.
“Community Policing Officers are better equipped to be the eyes and ears on ground and can help police with preliminary investigative work,” Ramjattan said.
“They [community policing officers] are the ones who know who are the bad Johns in a community… they [community policing officers] are also persons within the communities who can be alerted to those who have a tendency towards suicide and the idle things,” he added.
The Minister said it is the duty of every citizen to cooperate with members of the police force. He noted that some persons have backed away from this responsibility, but his thrust is to “bring it back in a more formalized way.”
“It is an institution which has a relevance today because of nature of crime today,” he added.
Activities to mark the 41st anniversary of voluntary policing will take place mainly in Corentyne, Berbice and will end with a women’s conference on April 27th.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating 41 years of Partnership, Supporting Reform and Development.”
Minister Ramjattan also said that while he believes that budgetary allocations for CPGs are justified, he wants to see more done to harness the energies of willing members of society to assist the work of the police.
Over the years CPG members were exposed to training in policing. (by Kurt Campbell)