How tainted is the Guyana Police Force? – By Adam Harris

How tainted is the Guyana Police Force?

Nov 19, 2017 – Kaieteur News – By Adam Harris

The case of Godfrey Scipio, called ‘Sagga’, continues to stun the nation. This past week the Major Crimes Unit arrested a policeman who was once at the top of the law enforcement pile. This policeman got an on-the-spot promotion in 2015 for solving a series of robberies and even one murder.

He was adjudged the Best Cop in ‘A’ Division and the runner up Best Cop in the police force. He seemed to know who the criminals were and he would lead his colleagues to the home of the criminal or to the location where the criminal was. Pretty soon the reputation of the Guyana Police Force soared.    

The rate of crime-solving went up; no criminal was safe and the police force began to report a drop in serious crimes. People began to have faith in the police again. Then comes this bombshell. A decorated policeman is accused of plotting the murder of a popular businessman.

From what has been revealed, this policeman solicited a criminal whom he had arrested on previous occasions to pull the trigger on the businessman. By his own testimony, the criminal, who has already appeared in court for the murder, opted to spill the beans on his recruiter. His story is frightening.

The country is now hearing that this policeman approached him with the offer and gives him the gun. Soon after the murder the news came out that a policeman had provided the killer with a gun. On Wednesday, the investigators removed the self-confessed killer from the Camp Street jail, sat him down before a video camera and other recording instruments, and got him to tell his story.

The sordid details spread beyond the murder, reaching as far as a case of policemen taking a bribe to close down a night club to the advantage of another. This also has some shocking details, including the attempt to kill a policewoman with poison because she allegedly advises one of the ranks to return the money.

The use of criminals is nothing new. In the past policemen would use these criminals as informers, to the extent that as soon as some crimes are committed they would pull in these criminals for information. After a while the police were familiar with the modus operandi of many criminals.

Then people began to hear of policemen responding to a robbery, would catch the robbers and demand the loot in exchange for the freedom of the robber. It goes without saying that some of these robbers were even killed because they needed to be silenced.

There are businessmen who, if they desired, would tell a tale of getting back some of the money and further giving the cops an inducement or gratuity. There are also people who would report a robbery and complain that a police patrol in the vicinity responded in a dilatory manner. This suggested that the patrol was complicit in the robbery.

Such was a case in ‘A’ Field, Sophia. I remember the man, a hire car driver, being shot by a robber. To this day his daughter is convinced that the robber was a member of the police patrol that happened to be in the neighbourhood.

A seaman told a story of a group of policemen seizing a quantity of cocaine he had planned to smuggle aboard a ship. He reported this incident to Police Headquarters and got a promise that the situation would be investigated.

A Chinese businessman on East Bank Demerara once killed a policeman in his home. He was roused by a noise, so he armed himself with a length of iron pipe. He saw the shape of the intruder and he swung his length of pipe with deadly effect. When the dust settled it turned out that the intruder was a policeman.

So we return to this fallen policeman. To give credit where credit is due, he is innocent until proven guilty. But he has been implicated right to the point where the killer tells of this policeman being seated in a car not far from where he shot ‘Sagga’.
He speaks of returning the gun and the chain he took from the dead man. He is recorded as saying that when he reached the car, the policeman asked him if the victim was dead. The policeman is saying that he has no reason for using a person who he had arrested and sent to jail.

The criminal retorted that when the policeman approached him he was afraid that he would be set up for a crime he did not commit. The result is that he acceded to the demands of the policeman or risk being killed himself.

The tale of rogue cops is all too familiar. Indeed, in every group or organization there will be disreputable elements. The police hierarchy often reports that it would deal with these elements. Not long after the newspaper would be adorned with news that an ex-cop is involved in some crime or the other.

Just recently there was Uree Varswyck, called Malcolm Gordon. He died in a hail of bullets in Linden after breaking out of the Camp Street jail.

What is worrying is the distrust that is beginning to creep back into the society. We hear that a policeman was involved in the botched robbery on Republic Bank. This policeman had given the assurance that he would have diverted the police patrol responding to the robbery.

People have been charged with this crime. It is now left to see if those charged would finger the policeman. There are also reports that policemen were behind some of the robberies committed on people leaving commercial banks.

Meanwhile, the police force is digging deep within its ranks for any other who would be part of the criminal network. And the society is looking with distrust at every other rank. People fear roadblocks and there are those residents who would now refrain from passing information to the police.

The justice system also has its worry. The policeman at the centre of the ‘Sagga’ murder probe has some cases in the courts. Many of these would collapse and guilty people would be released on the society once more.

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