In light of an escalation in some types of crime, the Government has proposed $29.1B for the security sector in the 2017 Budget and this will complement efforts to increase recruitment of police officers by some 20% as it seeks to strengthen its crime prevention and reduction strategy.
This announcement was made by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan on Monday during his presentation of Guyana’s 2017 Fiscal Budget.
According to Minister Jordan, the crime prevention and reduction strategy is under constant review, and Government will seek to implement a menu of measures aimed at both preventing and responding efficiently to crimes against Guyanese people and their property.
“The safety of our people and property, and maintenance of public order remain key priorities of our Government. We continue to be bombarded on a near daily basis, about a range of criminal activities, from petty to fatal, that is occurring across our country” he said.
As such, the Government has proposed a number of measures to deal with this situation in the coming year.
First, the executive plans to increase recruitment of police officers by approximately 20 percent, to boost the police presence as a deterrent to crime, while the force will be equipped with vehicles and specialised gears to improve mobility and response times to reported crimes.
There will be an attempt to expand patrols in key areas to deter criminal activity, for which over $740 million has been budgeted, complemented by expansion of the mounted branch in key hinterland locations.
The Minister explained too that Government intends to re-establish and operationalise the 911 service to restore public confidence in the response capability of the security services.
Efforts will also be made to strengthen the Integrated Crime Information System to ensure sister agencies such as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the National Anti-Narcotic Agency (NANA) share intelligence to enable the police to coordinate, intercept and detain criminals.
The Finance Minister noted too, that special emphasis will be placed on strengthening the Office of Professional Responsibility to deal with rogue cops.
The final plan, he listed was expansion of surveillance, utilising closed circuit television camera at both airports and in the city, as well as the development of the Smart City Framework over the period 2017 to 2019.
IN addition to these reduction measures, he said that prevention measures will target over 1,000 at-risk youth to be trained in a 9-month programme in technical and vocational skills in 2017.
“It is anticipated that the empowerment and education of youth in livelihood-building skills will help to reduce the incidence of delinquency and crime” Minister Jordan related.
He explained too that another measure that is being implemented, is the launching of a multi-agency collaboration to tackle narcotics, smuggling, and human-trafficking.
Later this year, he revealed, NANA will be launched to promote greater coordination between the agencies that are involved in the fight against illegal drugs, as well as transnational crimes such as contraband smuggling, and gun and people trafficking.
Additionally, the National Drug Strategy Master Plan and a draft of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Master Plan, both of which were completed in 2016, will serve as a strategic guide for Government’s efforts going forward.