The annual Police Officer’s Conference opened this morning with President David Granger speaking about the improvements that the Force has undergone and the need for a larger Police Force.
The Guyana Police Force currently has just over 4900 persons in its employ, which is a little over its required strength. The President said moves will be made to augment the Force’s strength in keeping with his Decade of Development plan.
“The Force’s personnel strength of about 4,600 is inadequate and will be augmented during the ‘Decade of Development’. Our country’s 215,00km² makes it larger in extent than England and Scotland combined and with 3,000 km of borders and 460 km of sea coast, the Force is challenged to enforce the law effectively everywhere. The Force has begun to overcome these constraints. The Force’s personnel have increased by 37.6 percent from 3,610 in 2014 to 4, 956 at as December 2019. It is now being supported by a 1,990 member Constabulary”, President Granger explained.
The President also addressed the development of officers in the Force. More training will be done, even as better salaries are offered.
President Granger reminded that “Policemen and policewomen are now enjoying improved wages and salaries. The average pay of a constable has increased from G$55,889 in 2014 to G$88,237 in 2019. The Force must be brought to strength. Trained police officers must be deployed away from non-core functions such as immigration, certification of vehicular fitness and issuance of gun licenses. These non-core functions must be outsourced so as ensure that more trained ranks are deployed to crime-fighting duties”.
The President said he wants to see the grooming of more versatile officers in the Guyana Police Force and those officers should be well equipped to take on different jobs.
“The Force must groom a more versatile officer corp. The police officer of the future must be equipped with a wide range of skills and competencies. He or she must be able to operate in different environments and be capable of working and living on the coastland or in the hinterland”, he said.
On the issue of community relations, the President said vigorous efforts are being made to improve relations between the Force and communities, adding that the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme funded the establishment of twenty Community Action Councils to assist with crime-fighting.
That move also included support for the training of community members to better address domestic violence and to promote good parenting practices and neighbourhood watch schemes.
In the past year, the Guyana Police Force has seen a decentralization of its administration.
Divisional boundaries have now been aligned with regional administrative boundaries.
The Force’s structure and staffing levels across all Divisions were reviewed.