The Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) is focused on reducing crime and violence in Guyana through a comprehensive approach that combines preventive strategies with institutional strengthening activities.
The main beneficiary of this project by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for US$15 million, was the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Guyana Prison Service (GPS) as well as various persons at the Community level.
IDB country representative Lorena Solorzano Salazar praised the significant developments for Guyana’s security sector since the start of the project in December 2015, especially the procurement of a DNA Testing Machine and Automated Gunshot Residue Analysis Machine for the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory.
The government has undertaken multiple initiatives to strengthen the security sector aiming to reduce crime and improve citizen security nationwide.
This includes legislative reforms, strategic planning, operational improvements, human resource capacity building, and cross-border alliances, among other strategic initiatives.
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh emphasised that modernising components of the public sector, particularly in the area of security, is essential in Guyana’s massive economic transformation.
“We don’t want that you, for some reason, to visit an institution of State and feel like you are stepping back into the stone ages, the transformation is not only about the roads, the airports, the bridges, and the hotels.”
“A non-negotiable element is a necessity for citizens and visitors to enjoy safety and security of person and property.”
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn noted that the conclusion of this initiative still leaves room for growth and further development in the security sector.
Commissioner of Police (Ag) Clifton Hicken said, “It is important that we continue on this path to have a police service instead of a police force.”
Some major achievements of the CSSP occurred over three components of the programme.
Component one addressed the weak aspects of crime and violence through differentiated social prevention interventions in the 20 target communities.
20 Community Action Councils were operationalised, 1283 youths were certified in Vocational training, 1221 youths benefitted from 60 Job Readiness and Job Placement Training Workshops and Training on domestic violence, parenting skills to prevent child maltreatment, and conflict resolution to reduce inter-personal violence were carried out.
Component two strengthened the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) Crime Prevention (CP) and Crime Investigation (CI) capacity at the national level for homicides, burglaries, and robberies.
This included IT improvements, police training, and specialisation in evidence-based policing, which complements the efforts and surveys.
137 Police Officers were trained in Domestic Violence Scenario Response, six Senior Police Officers completed training on the managing of a Domestic and Sexual Violence Unit, 90 mid-career Police Officers were trained in criminal and forensic investigation techniques, 108 Mid-career Police Officers enhanced skills in community engagement and cooperation and 18 police stations were rehabilitated.
Component three dealt with Strengthening Guyana Prison Service Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Services, which included the first-ever Digital Skills Training for 30 correctional candidates.