Police spaces must be places of trust, confidentiality – Pres Ali tells cops

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

In calling for the build out of a highly professional Guyana Police Force (GPF), President Dr Irfaan Ali has posited that law enforcement spaces must be spaces of trust and confidentiality for the public.

At Thursday’s opening ceremony of the Annual Police Officers’ Conference 2024, the Guyanese Leader shared that the greatest investment in enhancing the GPF’s capabilities has been made over the past three years. In return, significant strides and positive outcomes have been realised over the course of this period.

Nonetheless, Ali stressed that the trust of those persons who visit police spaces must be reciprocated, as he voiced, “The police space must be a safe space, a welcoming space, a space of trust. When people come to the police, they come because they trust. They come with a sense of trust that they will get their matter dealt with. So, how do we ensure that the space, the police space, remains welcoming, a place of trust, a place of confidentiality, a place of honour, a place of dignity, a place of pride? These are non-financial values that are driven by human action, that are critical in building the type of Police Force that we want to build.”

One intention behind this position is to create a sense of reliability: that the Guyana Police Force is capable of safeguarding the nation, protecting the rule of law and upholding democracy. The President outlined, “At the end of the day, what is important is that we build a highly professional Police Force, so that any citizen can go to bed, sleep well, knowing that there are institutions in our country that will not falter and disappoint the people of this country.

“In doing so, the Police Force must be so professional that safeguarding democracy and the rule of law is natural. It’s not based on influence, but it’s natural; it becomes an inherent character and an inherent part of who you are when you put on the uniform. But when you put on this uniform and people look at you, they must see someone who will not hide when a country needs them to defend democracy, defend the rule of law, and uphold your constitutional requirement; and that is all we want,” he added.

The government has been investing to rebuild assets in police stations across the country in a bid to not only enhance its response but to improve facilities for police ranks. In so doing, the President called on ranks to adopt a new culture of caring for their environment and the service provided to the public.

“You can build the best facility, but if our attitude to that facility remains the same, then you know (we) will be stuck where we are forever. So, this is how basic we have to get sometimes. Not only building the facilities but teaching big men and women how to take care of the facilities. This should not be. This should not be in a modern society. As one may say, these are small issues, but they are not small issues because it affects the way you serve, it affects those who come for the service. It can be a deterrent to the public,” Ali told the officers.

Human value

Over the course of one year, the Guyana Police Force has had the greatest expansion of training for men and women in uniform, with several persons achieving undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas. In the next four to five years, Ali anticipates that Guyana would have a highly trained, competent and qualified Police Force.

Looking at the human value aspect of this, he added that ranks must be able to climb the ladder throughout their professional career without being overshadowed by slots filled.

The Commander-in-Chief discussed, “What I’ve seen in the Police Force is that you have good police, who would work 30 years and retire as a constable because the system is designed in such a way that there are numbers and ratios that you have to fulfil in terms of senior command to constable, to the sergeants, and all of these things. So, we have to find an innovative way in which the human assets feel appreciated and connected after 30 years of service, ten years of service, and after 15 years of service…I don’t believe that the system gives value to those who have contributed 20 and 30 years to the Guyana Police Force, and that is important for the future transition as well.”