Peaceful and trouble-free holidays

As we have already started indulging in the Christmas holidays, the Police have already announced that they are on high alert to protect citizens from elements bent on creating fear among the citizenry by robbing unsuspecting shoppers.
In the lead-up to the holidays, the Guyana Police Force – as is customary – had unveiled their “security plans”. No doubt, some citizens may feel somewhat assured by the plan, while others would remain indifferent to it.
Already, Commander of Regional Police Division 4 ‘A’ (Agricola, East Bank Demerara to Industry, East Coast Demerara), Assistant Commissioner Simon McBean, has said that the increase in Police visibility and presence has resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in serious crimes for the year so far.
Regional Police Division 4 ‘A’ accounts for 40 per cent of the country’s crimes.
To quote the commander: “We are more visible. We were able to put out over 8,900 patrols this year… This, coupled with the significant increase in our intelligence-led roadblocks and operations, we were able to decrease the crimes in the Division.”
Security remains a major concern for residents regardless of where they are located, and especially on special occasions. Major landmarks and citizens are protected even more during the holiday seasons. From the pettiest thief to the most notorious criminal mastermind, they all know that holidays are times when people are distracted, and this gives them greater leeway to do their nefarious work.
Within this context, the Guyana Police Force’s annual Christmas Security Plan is nothing out of the ordinary; and if it would make Guyanese safer during the holidays, then by all means they need to implement it to the best of their ability. But since this is touching on the subject of heightened security, it needs to be asked why the Police cannot provide round-the-clock security during the rest of the year, as they do at Christmas time. It seems somewhat bewildering, but the Police also know that their approach to security is different at Christmas time, as opposed to the rest of the year.
There is a widely-held belief that crimes increase during the holidays more than at any other time of the year. And even if this were so, it does not remove the fact that, during the rest of the year, Guyanese still come face-to-face with petty thieves and hardened criminals, for which they need Police protection in the same degree as they are getting over the holidays.
Although Georgetown is not unique to other cities when it comes to thefts, muggings, and such crimes, it is perhaps confronted by a more unfortunate situation than its counterparts, the reason being the Police have not been able to significantly reduce these petty crimes, or have greater control over them. Had they focused on attaining this objective during the rest of the year, perhaps they would not have had to work as hard as they currently do during the holidays to protect citizens. This brings us to the issue of securing citizens throughout the year.
It is preferable that the Police do more to reduce crime, rid the streets of criminals, and enhance citizens’ protection during the year, since security is not a seasonal concern – at least not to the citizens. For citizens, security is a priority and a concern every day of the year, and their position on personal security is the same in March and June as it is in December.
As with the utility companies, citizens do not rank the Police Force as an efficient entity, although they do have expectations of them. But offering this level of service – and that too for 365 days – would not come without investment in the Police Force. Equipping the Force with the right tools, and recruiting the right people are what would make a major difference in the level of service being offered by the Police; and that, too, on a continuous basis.
The Police Force has the potential to do more for the citizens; as, in the past, they have enabled citizens to have a peaceful and trouble-free Christmas. They only need to build on these achievements, and develop that potential.

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