Cops involvement “disappointing”, “undesirable” – Minister

Foiled bank robbery

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) will be moving to clamp down on unprofessional behaviour by its ranks, following the discovery that two junior ranks were involved in the recent foiled robbery at Republic Bank Limited.

Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud

The two officers, a Police Constable and a Rural Constable, were seen on closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage talking to the three young men, who attempted to rob the bank’s Water Street branch last Tuesday.  Guyana Times understands the two ranks confessed that they helped plan the robbery.
This act, however, has been condemned by the top brass of the security sector. On Saturday, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters it is disappointing to know that ranks from the country’s premier law enforcement agency got themselves involved in criminal activities.
“It comes as disappointing news, very disappointing news,” the Minister stressed. He pointed out that despite the many efforts of the Police Force to eradicate rogue elements, there are still some who remain.
“It’s always gonna be a difficult thing to know that your Police Force still has an element or two that are doing the very rotten things of associating with masterminds for bank robberies. But we have to work on it, it’s always gonna be a work in progress,” he stated.
Nevertheless, the Public Security Minister noted that this disappointing news has reinforced the need for enhance efforts in tackling such behaviour and attitudes among officers. To this end, he posited that such efforts will have to begin at the level of the community.
“It will begin at the recruiting stage, it will begin at the community stage too because it’s from the community that we get Policemen to come into the Force. And the value system has to be changed also – parenting. It’s a huge complex social thing that will have to be done… because the Police Force is but a microcosm of the society and that is what we will have to do – better the society and better your recruits; the better your society the better your Police Force,” Ramjattan remarked.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud noted that the Force has been treated with unprofessional behaviour from the top to the bottom of the organisation and this recent case of Police involvement in such a crime, which he described as undesirable, is a major concern.
On this note, he outlined that the programmes such as residential training for recruits are geared at changing their attitude and behaviour. The Top Cop continued that the Force’s disciplinary system runs right down to first line supervision to management, as well serves to refresh professional rules and behaviour among ranks.
However, Commissioner Persaud recognises that in spite of the steps undertaken by the Force, there is only so much they can do.
“What is the reason that a man who has every foundation for a big, bright future going and take those risks that they took there. Similarly with these ranks, they are both junior ranks – one of them, I think from the regular force has three years or less than three year service. It’s a scenario presented to them that looks good, and therefore they take the chance. Certainly there was no experience in that,” the Top Cop said.
He added that the GPF does a lot of training to resist those temptations.
Furthermore, Persaud rubbished comments that the low salary grade of Police officers pushed them into criminal activities and corruption.
“If poor people, because of the little that they get, resort to crime we won’t have been surviving here ‘cause we live in a country with a lot of poor people; check what percentage of them are criminals,” the Top Cop stated.
Of recent, there has been a heightened involvement of ranks from the various law enforcement agencies in illegal activities and/or corrupt practices.
This is despite regular training programmes to reinforce the commitment of the ranks within the Joint Services, which is made up of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Fire Service and the Guyana Prison Service.