Training is the main root of development in the Guyana Police Force

first_imgDear Editor,Training is the main root of development in the Guyana Police Force. Other sectors, even though very important, are just the branches of the tree. Cut the main root and the tree dies. Recently, the media reported on a two-week anti-corruption training funded by the United Kingdom.The Police and other members of some investigative agencies participated. Information received is that apart from training to be conducted by the Felix Austin Police College, The Richard Fikal Police College and the Felix Austin Police College ‘B’ Division, numerous other training programmes would be done by overseas facilitators. It is imperative that the Police be adequately trained to efficiently and effectively execute their mandate as set out under Section 3 (2) of the Police Act, Chapter 16:01. What society expects from their protectors are: to cater for ‘first oil’; securing our western border, and being able to handle emerging security issues and concerns.However, the Police paradigm has shifted towards their being more community-oriented. They are now required to not only solve crimes, but problems in the various communities they serve. Hence the community-oriented policing and problem solving (COPPS) approach.His Excellency President Brig. David A. Granger, in his address to the Annual Police Officers’ Conference 2017, put the role of the Police succinctly, “But we must go beyond and find the causes of crime. Why is there piracy? Why is there suicide? Why is there murder? Why is there rape? Why is there trafficking in my division? What are the causes? So stop boasting about how many cases you made, find out how many cause you are able to discover, and let us stamp out the causes, then you stamp out the crime. If you do not know the cause of crimes, then the crime will continue to repeat over and over again…..“So that is what we have to embark on, a new programme of building partnerships. We have to work with community. We have to know what people in the community need and think, so that they can become partners and not our opponents. The Police Force has to be friends with the people, so you must be friend with the people, and build a partnership between the Police and the communities, and this will help you to get information and to build intelligence network.”To be effective the Police must develop excellent people skills, and display good interpersonal relations with the various stakeholders. They are required to interact with their peers, superiors, and subordinates; members of the public; their friends and family. Hence the need for them to develop effective people skills.Technical competence — the knowledge of law, Police practice and procedure is critical for the Police to be effective, but that is not enough. According to Bennett and Hess (2002), “Technical competence used to be most important.Now and the years ahead, people skills are most important.” Woodward and Buchholz (1987) explain, “One way to visualize this tactical, people-oriented approach is with a bicycle. The two wheels of a bicycle have different purposes. The back wheel powers the bike, the front wheel steers it. Extending this analogy to an organisation, ‘back-wheel skills’ are technical and organizational skills needed for the organization to function. ‘Front-wheel skills’ are interpersonal, ‘people management’ skills. Corporations tend to rely on their back-wheel; that is, their technical skills.Typically, however, when change comes, the response of the organization is primarily back-wheel response: do what we know best. But the real need is for front-wheel skills. That is helping people understand and adapt to the changing environment.”Strategic Management is about change. Reform is about change. Change is inevitable. No person or organisation can stop it. View it as opportunity. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is. Managers must pay attention to change in their environment, and adapt or perish.The boiled frog phenomenon is very instructive. A classic experiment was done. A frog was dropped in a pan of boiling water, and immediately jumped out, saving its life. Next a frog was placed in a pan of room-temperature water that was gradually heated to boiling point. Because the temperature rise was so gradual, the frog did not notice it, and sat contently in the bottom of the pan. The gradual rising temperature initially made the frog comfortable, but eventually sapped its energy. As the water became too hot, the frog has no strength to jump out. It boiled to death.The boiled frog phenomenon suggests that leaders must pay attention to change in their environment, and adapt or perish. I do not know what the Strategic Management Unit of the Guyana Police Force and the Reform Process have in place to deal with change. The former has been quietly doing some excellent work, but not sharing it with the stakeholders, while the latter went into labour recently.We expect an excellent delivery. Their plans appear to be top secret. I may be jumping the gun, but I have been on the starting block for some time now, and am a bit nervous. Many reform projects fail because a heavy emphasis is placed on the agents of change, while the victims of change are neglected.Organisational change takes centre stage while little or no attention is paid to personal change. I hope that the movers and shakers of the GPF would ensure that those who would be affected by the imminent change would be given the necessary coping skills to grapple with the situation. Inculcating people skills in the minds of the Police is a sine qua non.Yours faithfully,Clinton ConwayAssistantCommissioner of Police(Retd)last_img read more