Complainants against cops could also be investigated, charged – OPR warns

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

While assuring that it is committed to conducting thorough probes after receiving complaints from the public about errant police officers, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has cautioned that the complainants can be equally investigated and charged for wrongdoings.

This pronouncement was made by Head of the OPR Elston Baird during a recent social media programme produced by the Guyana Police Force (GPF).

He warned that if complainants are found to have resisted arrest, refused to comply or even assaulted ranks, they too can face the consequences.

“The police would use whatever force necessary as required by training to effect those arrest and sometimes persons might think that the force is excessive, they would come to the office and make complaints, we would investigate those matters…once we find that the police would have executed their duties and let’s say the force used, it was necessary given the circumstance, all of those issues will be highlighted in our reports.”

“And if it is that we find that the persons we’ve arrested or who prevented the arrest [by] assaulting the police for example, or resist that arrest, those recommendations would be also made for that them to be charged.”

Baird assured that his comments are not meant to scare away persons from filing complaints against errant police officers. But he indicated that there should be no abuse of the system.

“So, I don’t want to confront people or to make it appear as if I’m saying once you and the police have a confrontation, you’re not going to come to us, because you’re likely to be charged. We have to do the investigations and once that is established, then the charges are going to be recommended.”

Meanwhile, the OPR Head underscored the importance of the work of his office, noting that it is meant to identify breaches in the execution of police officers’ duties and make recommendations on how to improve the way cops deal with certain situations.

“The function of the OPR is not only there to investigate complaints and ensure that police are disciplined but to also identify breaches, policies we can come up with…some training and all that is necessary.”

So far for the year, the OPR has received 197 complaints about ranks. This is a major increased, compared to last year which saw only 97 complaints. It was previously reported that police neglect and assault are some of the most prevalent among the complaints received.