Measures being put in place to handle reports of domestic violence in Guyana
Assistant Police Commissioner Clinton Conway said domestic violence remains a front burner issue at all divisions and the force is working to put more measures in place to deal with it.
Conway, who is also the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) training officer at the Felix Austin Police College said several officers had been trained locally and overseas to deal with this type of crime. He told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that since the start of the year 498 ranks including 145 recruits have been trained to handle such cases and station officers who would be the first responders, are also being trained. GINA said private rooms are also being built at stations to encourage victims to report this type of crime.
At the same time, Conway said the GPF is facing a problem in convincing victims to follow through with reports. He said many of them refuse to provide the evidence needed to take the alleged to perpetrator to court. Conway said too if victims refuse to pursue the matter there is not much the police can do. “It might start with a small assault and later on will increase; it may end up in murder or other serious offences. We feel that if we deal with the minor matters there won’t be opportunity for the major ones [to occur]” he said.
The assistant commissioner said it was also important for communities to face the issue. He said churches and other stakeholders can have tremendous influence in helping to curb minor incidents by reporting them, thereby preventing an escalation of the crime. Conway urged all persons in communities to report any crime they might be aware of.
According to GINA Conway also acknowledged that reports against policemen and women might not always have been handled effectively and this issue is being addressed. He also urged that persons who might be dissatisfied with the response they receive to make a report to a higher authority including divisional commanders, the Office of Professional Responsibility or the Police Complaints Authority.