Female Ranks Urged to have the “Right Attitude” when dealing with Sensitive Matters

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Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn and Acting Commissioner of Police lClifton Hicken met with over 100 female policewomen on Tuesday. The ranks from within the various Police divisions were urged to be more professional and empathetic when taking reports of domestic and gender-based violence.

The meeting with the female police ranks centered on dealing with domestic and gender-based violence reports, dealing with the victims and the need to ensure the right attitude and empathy is displayed when handling such delicate and sensitive matters.

In his address to the female ranks, Minister Benn pointed out that a sore issue of domestic violence cases is that oftentimes it is not being taken seriously by police ranks at stations.

“We have a far way to go and a long way from where we should be in terms of the respect for women and in respect to the issue of domestic violence,” Minister Benn asserted.

He further elaborated that “we have a recurrent situation where the women complain that they go to the police stations, and they are turned away and that even women police officers fall in with, perhaps the agenda of the men, and perhaps they don’t want things to work. They don’t want to get involved because it may be a family or a friend.”

Owing to that, Minister Benn appealed to the female officers to be hands-on and more empathetic when dealing with such reports, while urging them that they should be champions in such matters.

“That’s why you’re here. I had the feeling that the women police officers themselves really should be the champions in this matter – that if a woman or girl or a child is being treated improperly against what the Standing Orders require, that it helps that the women police step up and say no, that is not the way it should be done and policewomen should offer protection and support.”

Speaking on the need for a change in the culture of policing, Minister Benn said, “We would like to have a new policing culture, a more diverse Police Force, which represents all our cultures, religions, peoples, and ethnicities in the Guyana Police Force.”

He acknowledged that changes would not happen overnight, “but step by step, day by day, month by month, year by year, improvements can be made.”

Acting Commissioner Hicken, said that the Police Force recognizes that domestic violence and gender-based violence are topical issues and partnering with other organisations is necessary.

The Top Cop went on to further remind the ranks that despite the Force’s zero tolerance policy, there is still a high level of deviation whenever reports are made at the stations.

“You’re all female ranks and you’re supposed to be championing domestic violence because most of the reports coming in, the victims are females. But instead of that, you’re exhibiting unprofessional behaviour and trying to settle matters,” Mr. Hicken charged.

He issued a stern warning that indiscipline and unprofessionalism will not be condoned.

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