Police urged to embrace change, technology; build safer communities

GPF 182nd anniversary

The Guyana Police Force on Thursday kicked off its 182nd anniversary celebrations with the traditional Church Service and Drum Head Service during which ranks were urged to embrace changes and adapt in adversity in order to build safer communities for citizens.

Commander-in-Chief President Irfaan Ali joined members of the Police Force and others for the annual Church Service to kick off the organisation’s 182nd anniversary celebrations

The Drum Head Service is a precursor to a series of activities to commemorate the establishment of the Police Force on July 1, 1839. The traditional piling of drums, which was done by the Tactical Services Unit (TSU) and the laying of the Golden Arrowhead and Police Force’s flags was held at the Police Officers’ Annex, Eve Leary, Georgetown, and was witnessed by Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force, President Dr Irfaan Ali.

Ranks of Tactical Services Unit piling the drums at Thursday’s Church Service

Other attendees at Thursday’s annual Church Service were Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn, Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie, Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Brigadier Godfrey Bess, and National Security Advisor Captain Gerry Gouveia as well as Regional Commanders and other senior and junior officers.
President Ali has had a special interest in equipping the Force with the necessary advanced tools and human resource training since entering office last August.
The President believes that a stronger Force would help to bolster the economic development that will revolutionise Guyana.
In fact, while outlining his vision for the Guyana Police Force at their annual Officer’s Conference held in March, the Commander-in-Chief had coined the term “Smart policing”- S.M.A.R.T: Systems, Manpower, Attitude, Reliability and Technology.
He has repeated at numerous forums that technology is an important component in the overall process of repositioning, restructuring, rebranding, reorganising, retooling and repairing the Force’s image and service delivery.
During the feature address at the handing-over ceremony of a Computer Training Centre at Cove and John Police Station on the East Coast of Demerara last week, the President had again explained the importance of technology and people-centred policing.
At that event, the President announced that work was already underway to expand the Smart City programme, which will see greater technological use, including surveillance cameras to aid crime-fighting and intelligence gathering.
“That is why easy access to technology and the training component that comes with it is such an important part of un-learning and re-learning to meet the future requirement demand. Part of leading is to create an efficient environment, one in which people have belief in the systems and one in which the system itself is efficient, not where files are misplaced and lost. One in which there is traceability so that there is greater accountability. That is what technology helps us to do–that is the direction we’re heading in,” the Head of State had said last week.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the officiating celebrant of Thursday’s church service, Dr Raphael Massiah, who in his feature message congratulated the Force on its 182nd anniversary and thanked the leaders for their contributions and accomplishments achieved thus far. He charged the members of the GPF to embrace “change”, “technologies” and adapt in adversity in an effort to build safer communities for its populace.
In order to demonstrate inclusiveness as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious organisation, prayers were also done by Hindu and Muslim leaders.
Thursday’s activity showed the Police in their glory. Since the Drum Head Service is a tactical method, arranging the drums requires skills, poise, neatness and coordination.
Chairman of the proceedings, Deputy Commissioner “Administration” (ag), Calvin Brutus explained that the piling of the drums can be placed to a long-standing military tradition of dedication used for receiving divine blessings and protection prior to engaging in battle. Such practice, he added, emerged due to situations in shifting battlefields and the inability to access religious sanctuary. A convenient location is therefore identified in the field, and the drums are arranged to perform the sacred function.
Being a paramilitary organisation, the GPF adopted this tradition among many others in existence. While the exercise is customarily all-female or all-male units, this year presented a mixed unit.
Thursday’s service was wrapped up with the un-piling of the drums.
Then called the British Guiana Police Force was established with 245 ranks. Today, the Guyana Police Force has several thousand members at posts all over the country.