Size of police force inadequate, to be augmented
- President tells officers' conference
SN Jan 30,2020
President David Granger this morning told the Annual Police Officers’ Conference 2020 that there has been significant recapitalising of the force but that its current personnel strength is inadequate.
An excerpt from the President’s address at State House follows:
The Force is being recapitalized, including with support from friendly states. The Force’s transportation fleet since 2015 has been increased with the addition of 338 new vehicles – motor cars, motor buses, motor cycles, motor pick-ups, mini-buses and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other specialised utility vehicles. Thirty-four boats, engines and other riverine craft were added to the Marine Branch over the past five years to enhance its marine capability.
The use of body cameras by ranks, piloted in Division 4 ‘A’, is now being extended to other Divisions. The nine eleven (911) system was revamped to improve timely responsiveness to reports of crime.
Your Government has provided greater resources to help the Force’s crime-fighting capabilities. Expenditure (current and capital) increased by 85 per cent from G$7.5B in 2014 to G$13.9 B in 2019. The Government has provided for G$56.5B of the Force’s expenditure over the past five years.
The Force’s personnel strength of about 4,600 is inadequate and will be augmented during the ‘Decade of Development’. Our country’s 215,00km² makes it larger in extent than England and Scotland combined and with 3,000 km of borders and 460 km of sea coast, the Force is challenged to enforce the law effectively everywhere. The Force has begun to overcome these constraints.
The Force’s personnel have increased by 37.6 percent from 3,610 in 2014 to 4, 956 at as December 2019. It is now being supported by a 1,990 member Constabulary.
Policemen and policewomen are now enjoying improved wages and salaries. The average pay of a constable has increased from G$55,889 in 2014 to G$88,237 in 2019.
The Force must be brought to strength. Trained police officers must be deployed away from non-core functions such as immigration, certification of vehicular fitness and issuance of gun licenses. These non-core functions must be outsourced so as ensure that more trained ranks are deployed to crime-fighting duties.
The Force must groom a more versatile officer corp. The police officer of the future must be equipped with a wide range of skills and competencies. He or she must be able to operate in different environments and be capable of working and living on the coastland or in the hinterland.
Vigorous efforts are being made to improve relations between the Force and communities. The Citizen Security Strengthening Programme funded the establishment of twenty Community Action Councils to assist with crime-fighting, including supporting the training of community members to better address domestic violence and to promote good parenting practices and neighbourhood watch schemes. Team Policing was introduced, in 2017, to improve police- community relations.