Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn has called on the public to stop attacking Police officers, as this is unlawful and officers can employ reasonable measures to protect themselves in such situations.
The minister said the number of incidents in which members of the public have assaulted the Police is alarming. The public, he added, must be reminded that Police officers are peace officers, and they can protect themselves if attacked.
“I am asking the Policemen to take reasonable precautions to protect themselves, and I want to advise the public to desist from attacking Policemen and women,” the minister is quoted as saying by the Department of Public Information during the commissioning of a new lockup at the Brickdam Police Station on Wednesday.
“We do not want us going back to situations where Policemen were shot. Let those be the bygone days, but the Policemen cannot responsibly do their duty if people feel they can run out and attack Policemen violently with weapons,” he said.
The Guyana Police Force on Wednesday also called on members of the public to desist from attacking officers in the execution of their duties, while also reminding that they may be endangering their lives and breaching the law.
In a statement, the GPF said it has noted a worrying trend of physical attacks on its members during the execution of their lawful duties by some members of the public.
The Force revealed that a review of video footage as well as reports were received from affected ranks, and have revealed instances of citizens assaulting them; brandishing cutlasses, pieces of wood and other weapons at them; attempting to disarm them, and such like.
Notably, all the attacks reviewed and reports received comprise all the elements of a serious threat to life and safety of the law enforcement officers targeted, it noted, as well as persons within proximity; and, in so doing, render any action taken by the Police to mitigate these threats as lawful.
Just a few days ago, a Constable was assaulted by a Guyana Defence Force rank. At the time of the incident, the constable was conducting anti-crime patrol duties at the western end of the Demerara Harbour Bridge when he was attacked by the GDF rank.
While directing traffic, the Constable observed a dark grey car trying to change lanes, thereby causing congestion.
The constable approached the driver, whom he subsequently discovered was a rank of the GDF. The Constable informed the Lance Corporal of the offence, and instructed him to pull over to the corner of the road. That caused the Lance Corporal to become annoyed, and he exited his car and “chucked the rank”.
Despite warnings from Constable Wilson, the GDF rank continued to assault the officer by choking and cuffing him about his face and body.
The GDF rank was arrested, while Wilson was taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, where he was treated and sent away.
Meanwhile, in a subsequent statement, the GDF condemned the actions of the rank, which were video recorded and circulated on social media.
The GDF rank has since been charged for assault.