C Division 2018 crime fighting strategy……as we make more inroads in crime fightBy Michael YoungeIn order for more success to be achieved in the fight against crime along the East Coast corridor, there must be a deliberate and sustained effort to root out internal corruption and rogue ranks, while at the same time improving community relations that could lead to an unprecedented boost in the levels of confidence and trust reposed in lawmen who are serving citizens there.C Division Commander, Calvin BrutusThis is the position adopted by C Division (East Coast Demerara) Divisional Commander Calvin Brutus who, on Wednesday, recommitted himself to the task of building a more professional policing division where respect for citizens is high on the agenda, with a view of upholding law and order, even if it means holding both junior and senior ranks to higher levels of accountability and integrity as they dispatch their constitutional and professional remit.Brutus, who recently returned from annual leave, said 2017 saw his division achieving an overall 12 per cent reduction in serious crimes while at the same time clinching a two per cent reduction in fatal accidents.He said this was achieved because of several new crime fighting approaches that were rolled out in 2017 which saw his division improving its community relations and ties through the social crime preventing initiatives and “Intel driven policing”.Asked first about the increasing concerns of citizens within his catchment area about the alarming levels of unprofessional conduct by ranks while dispatching their duties at the community levels, Police stations and roadways, Brutus said the standing orders and Police policy is clear as day on this.“We look at addressing it through several approaches because it is both an internal and external problem. At the local level, we do so through our instruction classes”, he marked before revealing that he recently initiated a monthly muster where all available ranks are briefed on a variety of issues and told how to address a number of situations that may prove difficult.“As soon as those complaints about unprofessionalism come, we investigate them and take action. Many cases are pending. Some persons were transferred while others are dismissed and we will continue in that vein. We look at education and the coercive measures that is taking acting through OPR and at other levels,” he reported.Brutus said decisions are mostly taken on documented reports but denied that there was an increase in those reports over the past two years. He admitted that these complaints have been constant as the division is in the process of being decentralised.Questioned about a new phenomenon developing along the East Coast where Police Officers, specifically traffic ranks are circling entertainment spots, hiding in dark areas and harassing law-abiding citizens for money through deceptive means, Brutus said he is unaware of the situation.But persons who spoke with Guyana Times on Wednesday claimed that Policemen were asking them to travel to the nearest Police station to conduct breathalyzer tests, especially if the person is found to be under the influence of alcohol. The Policemen on patrol then hint a possible settlement and the monies are allegedly paid and the errant driver is allowed to go, only to be stopped by another patrol group, tested and charged for the DUI offence.Brutus said he would investigate the complaint as he restated the Force’s policy on handling DUI cases. He maintained that the tests are supposed to be conducted on the spot.“That’s the initial test because it makes no sense or it’s rather inconvenient, and the law is clear…even in our policy, that you take someone off the road and inconvenience them, they lose time and distance travelled, and expense in gas and what have you, to take them somewhere to test them and then to find out there’s no alcohol in their systems. It’s an inconvenience and that’s why we have the mobile stations where the tests ought to be administered on the road, on the spot where ever you stop them,” he said strongly.He said that he would not uphold the harassment or unnecessary interference of law abiding citizens by ranks who are seeking to induce bribes or achieve personal objectives as he recommitted himself to running a professional division.“Once the reports are credible, we will take action. We will root out all corruption and corrupt ranks,” Brutus remarked as he signalled his new zero tolerance approach.The C Division Commander said the onus was on ranks to conduct themselves properly even though he said “he hasn’t had” any credible reports about collusion between criminals and Police in the execution of criminal activities and plots.He reiterated the fact that “Trust has to do a lot with our relationship with members of public and discharging our duties in a professional way… it is encouraging to see the rise in the level of confidence reposed in our Police and but the process is incremental… we have to tackle corruption in order to achieve more success”.In November 2017, Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine had affirmed that the Force has no place for unprofessional conduct.“We have to be skilled and professional in our actions, a tower of strength and virtue, and accept that all of our actions have to be subjected to continuous public scrutiny,” Commissioner Ramnarine had said.He had warned that actions will be taken against any rank who seeks to use their position for their own selfish gain or to harass citizens.