Over the years, great efforts have been made to re-professionalise and re-capitalise each arm of the Joint Services. Gradually, the ranks, with rare exceptions, began taking pride in their uniform and profession, with dire consequences for the criminal population.
Governments changed, and there was a paradigm shift in the actions/inactions of the various ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), again with rare exceptions, in direct correlation with the multiplicity of infractions of the law by lawmakers then in Government, who were trampling on the Constitution in myriads of ways.
Subsequent to the PPP/C’s accession to the nation’s administrative offices in August of 2020, the new 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 to civilians, because they are supposed to be guardians of the laws of the land and protectors of the society, so their felonious actions are tantamount to crimes against the State, and consequently are treasonous.
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 minibus conductors know all the traffic Policemen who take bribes, and their stories of persecution by those delegated to protect travellers from lawless road-users who commit traffic violations that endanger lives are many. Amnesty should be offered to those who were coerced into paying bribes by the disreputable brigade of lawmen in exchange for their providing crucial and credible evidence in court.
The law banning music from minibuses is constantly being flouted, even within hearing of Police ranks, most of whom ignore the cacophony because they themselves feel that music, even the cacophonous and vulgar variety, is no crime, but is instead very enjoyable and should be tolerated, with anyone objecting being deemed a troublemaker. In this regard, they abdicate their responsibility to be guardians and enforcers of the law, regardless of personal opinions and preferences.
The travelling public is still being held to ransom, because if they complain about loud and crude music, speeding or overcrowding, they are most often abused, and sometimes even ejected from the bus. Sometimes, instead of respecting and heeding a request to turn down or off raucous and vulgar music, the volume is turned up to excruciatingly higher decibels. The public sometimes have no recourse but to endure the assault on their hearing organ, just to reach their destination.
The rogues in the GPF have to be weeded out by loyal and honest members of the Force themselves, in sting operations, cognizant 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, 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 fulfills its mandate by protecting and serving the nation.