Newly-appointed acting Commissioner of Police Mr. Clifton Hicken summoned a meeting today with all Sergeants of the Guyana Police Force, across all regional divisions, where he gave them a comprehensive charge and strict mandate to ‘serve and protect’ and to change the negative image and perception that members of the public have of the Force.
“We need to stop harassing and bullying members of the public, we need to desist from these random and unnecessary traffic stops and searches, we must regain the public’s trust and confidence and we must do everything in our power to rebuild and improve the image of the Force and regain the trust of the people,” Hicken told hundreds of Police Sergeants at the Police Officers’ Training Centre on Camp Road, Eve Leary, Georgetown.
Speaking for over an hour, Mr. Hicken made it clear that there will be absolutely “no compromise” when it comes to professionalism and integrity of not just the Sergeants but all members of the Guyana Police Force.
His message to the attentive and much appreciative audience of Sergeants was centred on professionalism, integrity, accountability, service, protection, and police-community relations.
The Acting Commissioner of Police also issued a stern warning that non-compliance or non-adherence to any of the issues he touch on will see ranks being disciplined. He used the word “rotation” throughout his address, reminding ranks that the “only thing that remains constant in life is change” and that ranks (Sergeants) must be able and willing to adapt to changes that will come on stream, including being rotated on a regular basis with a view to develop capacity.
“You’re going to be judged on every aspect of your work and so professionalism is paramount,” Mr. Hicken stated. He also alluded to the importance and reason for the Community Policing Groups (CPGs).
“It is important for Sergeants to understand the activities within their span of control to adequately deploy ranks. Focus, however, should be on identifying hotspots, black spots, commercial and other activities hence the importance of Community Policing Groups,” he posited.
“Recognition will be based on performance. As Sergeants you are the beneficiaries of change and within the next four or five years, some of you are going to be up here as Officers. Be the change you would like to see,” Mr. Hicken posited.
“When you outrank your position, you’re going to be promoted and it’s not going to be done by favouritism, nor in an ad hoc manner. The process is going to be transparent, guided by the Strategic Planning Unit, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit and the Risk Management Unit which will soon be realised,” he told the Sergeants.
Mr. Hicken made it clear that “discipline is paramount in this Organisation”. “You are entrusted with decision-making that can affect the lives of members of the public…and one ill decision can create problems out there,” he noted.
STRICT PATROL POSTURE
With focus on the Traffic Sergeants, he posited that information shared should be cascaded to the Corporals, Lance Corporals and Constables with a view to create efficiency. Mr. Hicken said ‘stop and searches’ must be in keeping with the established SOPs. “Before, during and after the search, constant communication must be done with the Operations Room…this posture is to provide guidance to the patrols,” Mr. Hicken stated.
Traffic posture will see traffic ranks being strategically placed along the corridors and thoroughfare with minimal stops for production of documents unless it is supervised by an Inspector or Officer.
Conduciveness at stations must be encouraged and maintained as far as practicable as outlined in the Police Force’s Standing Order.
Infrastructure development is taking place across the twelve administrative regions (divisions) of the Guyana Police Force with a view to create a conducive atmosphere and to build police morale.
“Like I said, we’re not going to tell you things that we can’t do. We will be leading from the front and within the next year-and-a-half, we’re going to rebuild all the Headquarters and all the police stations will be spruced up. This is going to create an environment that is conducive to increasing your performance and building morale in the Force,” the Top Cop declared.
In closing, he reminded that policemen and women are products of civil society hence the need to be courteous and true to Force’s mandate of ‘Service and Protection’.
Among those sharing the head-table with the CoP today were Deputy Commissioner Operations (ag.) Mr. Ravindradat Budhram, Head of Special Branch Senior Superintendent Mr. Errol Watts and several members of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).