Police Narcotic Ranks protest a force decision to take away their firearms

A quantity of cocaine and other illicit substances being destroyed by CANU and Police Narcotics agents earlier this year

Police ranks who are tasked with fighting the issue of drugs as part of their functions at the Police Narcotics Branch, an arm of the Criminal Investigation Department have been ordered to turn their weapons in.

The move was reportedly executed by Deputy Commissioner Maxine Graham on Tuesday. It is unclear what rational was used for the decision but according to persons close to the operations of the force, the move comes just two days after Commissioner of Police Leslie James proceeded on some amount of leave.

Ranks who spoke with Big Smith Crime Watch related that they were told by one Deputy Commissioner of police “Yall don’t need guns to look for drugs” effort to make contact with Deputy Commissioner Operations Maxine Graham have been futile. The police narcotics branch is said to be one of the smaller departments within the police force with a number of supervisors.

We were told that previously ranks would be allowed to carry force issued weapons home with them given the nature of their operations. It was also noted that there have been no cases recorded in recent times where ranks from the unit had cause to be sanction for abusing the weapons or using same in any manner outside of the Sops and guidelines which speaks to the care, use and handling of the weapons.

One rank said that based on what is being circulated, the force administration is of the view that too many ranks from the unit were being allowed to walk with firearms when not on duty.

One officer said that the system which exists at the narcotics branch is highly controlled and there is a rigid procedure for all those within the unit who carry arms.

The police force narcotics branch would from time to time conduct operations independently while at other times they are called upon to lend support to the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit. Earlier this year the two units destroyed a combined quantity of more than one hundred and seventy million worth of cocaine, marijuana and other substances.

During the crime wave of 2002-2005 the forced began allowing a number of officers and other ranks to go home with force issued weapons after it became clear that law enforcement ranks were targeted by criminals who would attack them on their way to work or while they were off duty.

Notwithstanding that however, police ranks over time have also been found to be in position of illegal weapons and even facilitating the transport of narcotics and other contraband across the country.  The Guyana Police Force is presently being audited through a state audit process and weapons inventory and other assets are expected to be checked on to ascertain if everything is properly accounted for.