Police must transform to match advanced legal system – President

…repositioning, rebranding, retooling needed
President Irfaan Ali on Thursday underscored the immediate need to rebrand and reposition the Guyana Police Force (GPF) into an instrument whose operations align with the laws and future of the country.

President Dr Irfaan Ali with Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips and Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn share a photo with members of the GPF at the opening of the Annual Officers’ Conference

The Head of State was delivering a feature address at the Annual Officers’ Conference, highlighting that the Force must transform to match the advanced legal system. Given the current disparity, gaps will arise and the system will resort to slothfulness. With these consequences, a negative perception will follow.
“Where we ought to be is defined by the future requirement of the Force. It is critically and integrally linked to the future direction of the country. You could have the greatest advancement and modernisation of the legal system, but if you don’t have the corresponding development of the security sector, the Police that administers a lot of what happens in the legal system, then you will have a gap and the system looks sluggish, where the laws are far in advance as to where we are operating,” the President told senior officers and ranks at the conference, which was hosted at the National Cultural Centre.
He said to address the gaps, stakeholders must work to identify and understand the internal and external setbacks which affect operations. He reminded that Guyana’s future would imminently change, and questioned whether preparations were in train to handle new situations.
Ali detailed, “In doing this, we have to do a realistic assessment of our capability, weaknesses, our strength, the opportunities that are there, the direction in which the country and the Force are going; and the requirement and future demands of the Force. Guyana’s future is going to change. Are we preparing ourselves for that change or are we transcending in a normal pace to what the future requires us to be?”
Part of the repositioning, he said, is building regional capacity and institutions to handle cases immediately and having greater accountability at this level. Efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness, and a clear vision should be the central thrust of this repositioning.
“It has to be an integrated approach where every level is strengthened to operate at its optimal level. That begs the discussion on organisational structure itself. What was the structure designed to achieve as against what is needed in today’s society and the future of our country? Is it optimal? Are there recommendations that we may come up with if we find it to be sub-optimal?” the Head of State questioned.

Moreover, Ali reminded that ‘no individual group is running a separate arm of the Force’. In fact, the goal must be aligned with service to the people. It was positioned that the Force already had a cohort of highly trained and qualified ranks, but the branding of the entity posed a hurdle.
The image of the Force in the minds of Guyanese must be a positive one, with confidence in the entity to get matters solved. While establishing this brand, Ali said, efforts must be made to uphold it.
“You could have the best product, but if you have a bad brand, you have problems…We cannot just develop the brand, market the brand and then leave it on its own. We have a duty and a responsibility to protect the brand when we build the brand. We see daily assault on the brand. I don’t care where the assault comes from. We have a duty and responsibility to protect and defend the brand once it is operating in the framework it is designed to operate in.”
He explained that the Force must undertake restructuring, repositioning, rebranding, reorganising, retooling, reengineering, and the repairing of its image and service delivery.
An integral part of the new brand, the President identified, relates to trust. (G12)