Min Benn pushes for more diversity and professionalism in joint services
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn has highlighted a number of initiatives forging ahead to boost diversity and professionalism within the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Prison service, and Guyana Fire Service.
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn has admitted that relations between the police and general population have been quite strained over the years, noting that the “negatives are overwhelming.”
He now strongly iterates that diversity across the joint services are necessary to improve relations between the police and members of the public.
“I feel unless we have diverse policing and of course for other agencies; fire and prison service, then we won’t arrive to the point of empathy and caring for each other unless we have full participation of every groupings, religions and ethnicities in these groupings. This would speak perhaps also to indigenous communities.”
In terms of indigenous communities, Minister Benn noted that cultural and language barriers could lead members of those communities to have a negative perception of the police.
He then hinted that work is being done to have officers better trained in these areas so they would not be “perceived as predatory”.
“There’s a lot of training which is ongoing overseas and in Guyana itself relating to issues of domestic violence, the care of juvenile offenders. We are going to be putting in cameras in all the police stations. Where there is going to be contact between the police and the population, there will be cameras which will be recording that engagement.”
The Minister noted that this will boost professionalism in the Force since they will be able to monitor interactions between the police to ensure persons going into the police station are treated properly and investigate claims when persons claim otherwise.
One of the initiatives the police force is benefitting from is the Strengthening Justice for Women, Girls, and Indigenous Peoples in Guyana’ project launched by the Justice Education Society in September.
Part of this four year programme involves training members of the Guyana Police Force on how to better interact with indigenous communities.