British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn has stressed his country’s commitment to ensuring reforms in the local security sector.
In fact, he told Guyana Times on Saturday that this is an area of collaboration that his Government will continue to pursue.
“We want to continue to work in doing security sector reforms and that will be something that we will come back to after the elections,” High Commissioner Quinn stated.
The British Government had funded a Security Sector Reform report which focused primarily on reforms within the Guyana Police Force.
During a meeting with then British Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2016, President David Granger had requested that the multimillion-dollar security sector programme be revived after it was initially scrapped in 2009.
As such, British security expert, Colonel Russel Combe was brought in to conduct an assessment of the local security sector and compiled the report with steps to be taken to improve services.
In addition to reforms within the Police Force, the report also contained measures to address issues plaguing the Prisons and Fire Services as well as the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF’s) Coast Guard.
At the handing over of the report in January 2018, Combe had said the presentation of the report is not just the beginning or end of efforts to reform the local security sector.
“The report is dynamic; it’s not to represent just the beginning. Activities supported by the United Kingdom have already commenced: the training of [Police’s] Strategic Planning Unit last year and then in November there was consultancy on the marine capability of the Police Force and indeed engaged with the Coast Guards as well… So this is not the beginning, nor is it the end,” he had noted.
The UK expert had further stated that his Government does not want to see the report sitting on the shelf, gathering dust. In fact, he noted that the report was compiled in such a way that it can be broken up and separated into parts to be dealt with by different groupings.
Colonel Combe was retained to oversee the implementation of his recommendations until March 2019 when his tenure came to end.
While the report is yet to be made public, the Police Force has already taken steps to implement some of those recommendations.
In fact, the Force’s Annual Officers’ Conference was held last month under theme “Maintaining the Security Sector Reform Implementation to Enhance Public Trust, Security and Capacity Building”.
It was noted that the report created the formation of a National Policing Plan 2019 with five priority areas: Operations, Training, Partnership, Performance and Infrastructure. It also sets out eight national objectives namely: crime reduction, restore confidence, efficiency and effectiveness, professionalism and legitimacy, engagements and outreaches, performance assessments, human resource management and structural improvement to police abilities.
A Strategic Planning Unit has since been put in place to coordinate the execution of the five strategic areas. This is coupled with a host of other measures such as the Police Reform Change Board to implement the Security Sector Reforms.
“The Force continues to implement strategies and systems from our three-year Strategic Management Plan, of which the first year is now completed. That Plan will conclude in 2021. We continue to forge ahead for greater efficiency and maximum development,” Police Commissioner Leslie James had stated.
Meanwhile, President David Granger at the same time had emphasised that Security Sector Reform remains a high priority of the coalition Government’s public security policy.
“It involves measures to promote greater probity in the work of the police and to ensure greater integrity among its members. It is strengthening professional competence, social responsibility and administrative oversight and improving the officers’ performance so as to allow it to become a more capable law-enforcement agency,” the Head of State posited.