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Police taking steps to curb armed robberies

A section of Georgetown's busy shopping district. A section of Georgetown's busy shopping district.
In the wake of a spike in banditry during the past week, the Guyana Police Force on Wednesday announced a raft of steps including reorganising patrols and accessing images from citywide surveillance cameras.

Chief of Criminal Investigations, Deputy Commissioner Seelall Persaud said plans were being made to access live feeds of images being captured by cameras that are currently being monitored only by the Office of the President’s Central Intelligence Unit (CIU).

“There is effort right now to have the feed directly to the police so that we can independently research and use what evidence is collected there,” he told a news conference. He said police could access the CIU’s footage “by request.”

Using statistics, Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell rejected assertions that there has been an upsurge in armed robberies. “The overall crime situation is not at the level of the perception outlined in articles via the media,” he said.

Figures show that up to July 15, there has been a three percent decline in murders, a one percent increase in robberies involving the use of firearms and a nine percent decrease in robberies where other arms like knives and cutlasses were used.

For the year 14 persons have been killed during armed robberies, five of them during the past two weeks. Police so far this year recovered 49 firearms including 19 revolvers,18 shotguns, 10 pistols one submachine gun and one rifle.

The top cop disputed perceptions about rising crime one day after the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the main opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) called on police to do more to bring the situation under control.

Brummel said he, Persaud and all the Divisional Commanders on Wednesday decided on new measures to police all divisions. “We have revisited and made adjustments to our strategies to effectively police the divisions,” he said.

Deputy Police Commissioner Persaud said the Police Force would soon be resuscitating formal rather than ad hoc relations with the Guyana Association of Private Security Organisations (GAPSO) to exchange information and response to crime reports.

The Police Commissioner reiterated the need for the business community to focus more on their security in the movement of cash and recommended that more debit cards be used in transactions.

While noting that the GCCI did not attend the unveiling of the 2012 Christmas policing plan, he said the police force was expected to attend next month’s seminar on the security situation that is being organised by the city business organisation.
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