Public trust

Again, the Guyana Police Force has been cited for the lack of trust by the public. In a recent United States Agency for International Development (USAID) report, it was stated that Guyanese have greater trust in the military and religious bodies than the Police Force.
Over the years, great efforts have been made to re-professionalise and re-capitalise each arm of the Joint Services, and more so the Guyana Police Force.
According to the report: “Public trust in the Police Force remains low in comparison to other institutions…the negative perceptions of the Force were shared equally between persons residing on the coast and persons in hinterland locations.” The report also pointed to several Policemen in various hinterland locations being accused of rape, and, in other incidents, senior ranks were charged for fraud.
Last year in Parliament, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn has said that some 13 cops were under probe for criminal conduct, and 22 ranks were found in breach of disciplinary guidelines under various codes of conduct. In the year 2020, several Police ranks were placed before the courts for offences such as narcotics smuggling, assault, corrupt transaction, rape, manslaughter, and causing death by dangerous driving.
In 2020, after regaining power, the PPP/C Government, through strategic placement of senior ranks, once again embarked on a dynamic crusade to create a people-friendly, proactive Police Force.
However, every organisation is a microcosm of the wider society, and the GPF is no different. Inasmuch as the society at large has criminals rampaging in every community, so, too, there are rogue cops defaming the entire Force and creating distrust between law-abiding citizens and the GPF.
The rogues take bribes. In the past, some ranks have been accused, rightly or wrongly, of lending their weapons to bandits and of setting free persons who were captured with great effort and at great risk to their fellow officers.
They have even been accused of perpetrating criminal activities themselves, and it is only just that, when caught, they should be dealt with in more punitive ways than those meted out to civilians, because they are supposed to be guardians of the laws of the land and protectors of the society.
Some of these ranks disgrace their uniforms and the organisation to which they belong. They bring disrepute to the entire Force with their criminal actions, and should be dealt with condignly by their own counterparts in the service, as in a case where one Policeman nabbed three bribe-takers.
The rogues in the GPF have to be weeded out by loyal and honest members of the Force themselves in sting operations, cognisant of the fact that defamation ensuing from the criminal actions of even one rogue cop impacts the reputation of the entire Force, not merely the renegades. The distrust of the public for the Police intensifies rather than wanes, and there are numerous instances when members of the public, fearing a negative response, prefer to suffer in silence rather than report crimes committed against them.
The trickle-down effects of crimes committed by rogue cops affect every Police rank, even those who have performed heroically in the line of duty, risking and sometimes losing their lives; those who have given service to their country and their countrymen beyond the call of duty; so it is incumbent on those honest, dedicated and professional Police ranks to identify, isolate, and eliminate the criminals within their midst, so that the GPF once again becomes a highly-efficient, trusted, law enforcement body that fulfils its mandate by protecting and serving the nation.
The Police must lead by example. If they want to win the public’s trust, they must be seen as having integrity and decency.