CPGs to be reconstituted with new focus

The Home Affairs Ministry has restructured and relaunched the Community Policing Groups (CPGs) with a focus to rebuild, boost its membership and regain trust within communities to prevent crime.
The new CPGs were launched on Monday at the Guyana Police Training Centre in Eve Leary.

Home Affairs Minister
Robeson Benn

Minister Robeson Benn underscored the importance of CPGs to maintaining order within communities.
“The promoting of safe communities and neighbourhoods can only come through enabling and rebuilding of community trust and confidence through a system of volunteerism, using law-abiding citizens to bolster and aid the lawful, professional and human rights embracing efforts of Guyana Police Force,” Minister Benn is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.
An increase in crimes, he said, can be linked to a reduction in active CPGs. The 2020 and 2019 year-to-date figures have shown a marked increase in armed robberies by 20 per cent and robbery with aggravation by 27 per cent, he said, underscoring the need for reactivating the groups.
The overall goal is to increase membership to 5000 nationwide, with proper management.
Currently, there are 166 CPGs with 2903 members. These figures indicate a decline in groups by 20 per cent, an approximate 40 per cent decline in membership and the level of activity falling below 30 per cent.
According to the DPI report, the Ministry and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) will be expelling CPG members who are abusers, alcoholics and those who demonstrate unethical behaviours.
Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie also highlighted the important role CPGs play in contributing to a crime-free society.
“Law enforcement officials cannot tackle the issues of crime by itself. So, we need the support of members in the community…Community policing is here to stay, it’s the way forward, it’s results-oriented and it’s what we will ensure is sustained,” he said.
Meanwhile, Administrator of CPGs, Reshi Das said developing and maintaining trust between Police officers and citizens is fundamental to the programme.
“Our main focus is to restore the pride of CPG and the recruitment of membership, to hold extensive training and trainers’ workshops in the areas of domestic violence, human rights and formation of youth clubs in all the divisions,” Das said.
Advisor to the Minister, Harry Gill said the CPG leadership will join forces with the GPF to conduct a procedural justice training programme to rebuild trust among citizens and officers.
The programme is expected to start in the first quarter of 2021.
There are also plans to launch a satisfaction survey on crime prevention and to reconstitute the Commission of Law and Order. Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Mae Toussaint Jr Thomas; Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Charles Ramson Jr, and officials of the CPGs also attended the launch.