Armed Force

One: those policewomen who were dragged from their unmarked police car while driving in downtown Kingston, beaten up and then hauled to a police station and held – not arrested. Allegedly they stopped short on a group of men crossing the street. The group of people crossing the street? Members of the ISCF, all men. The policewomen were beaten by their own colleagues. Now some reports have highlighted the alleded breech between the JCF and the ISCF, which they think is at the core of the altercation.

Two: Police Commissioner Thomas calls for more resources for the police. He specifically pointed to the police force’s inferior fire power when measured against the criminals they fight every day. I quite agree that the police likkle one-pop have nothing on the heavy artillery of criminals. That said, I don’t think that Jamaica’s police are ready to have high-powered handguns at their fingertips.

Three: Jamaica’s Police Force is….I can’t find the words. It doesn’t attract the best and brightest of Jamaica and this shines through even after training is completed. Joining the police force is a last resort. The police officers are poorly compensated, which has bred such corruption within the force it’s unbelievable. (Paying off a traffic cop is the lowest rung of this corruption ladder.)

Many of our officers lack basic thinking and analytical skills necessary to tackle even day-to-day offences. The training procedures are poor and ill-suited to Jamaica’s criminal climate. And even general crime scene skills like using gloves. Hello?! Every time ‘Merica sneezer Jamaica ketch col’ so I can’t imagine how come we haven’t caught on to even the basics of CSI…USE GLOVES. And who else lines up firearm finds in meticulous lines for show on the evening news? I mean, save that kind of exposure for big busts or something. Collect evidence and keep it sterile. We probably have a long way to go before we have those state-of-the-art labs and all but we can do the basics of collecting fingerprinting. I fully expect our forensics to improve though because our students are so steeped in the sciences. The force could do well to change its image into a career-making organization that provides bright, young Jamaicans a way to make their way in the world. Forensics is just one of many areas of policing that could become an exciting and viable career path that is offered to our young people.

I agree that the force needs better resources – police stations with the necessary infrastructure to record crimes and ‘cater’ to those who break the law are the most immediate and fundamental needs. But I really balk at the idea of giving our officers access to weapons without making sure they are well schooled in the ways of using force. Given that recent incident I related above and the endless string of ‘shoot outs’ and charges of aggressive force that taint every single policing event, our officers clearly need some anger management and/or aggression training. I mean, our officers have nothing on the LAPD and their shenanigans. They simply don’t know how to approach situations without escalating them to deadly levels.

The answer to solving Jamaica’s crime problem is not to give the police access to the weapons that criminals have. Crime is but a symptom of a wider disease plaguing Jamaica – poverty is the largest aspect of this disease. It will take innovative and sincere community policing, similar to what’s being done in the Grant’s Pen community and in some rural communities. Our police officers need to be integrated into communities in such a way that deters criminals and builds a relationship of trust between them and members of the communities. A treat at holiday-time is a nice gesture but it’s not enough. No trust exists between citizens and those in uniform, and without that foundation our society will always struggle with rooting out the wrongdoers from among us. They need to be in touch with the issues and concerns of ordinary Jamaicans for it is with them that the solutions to Jamaica’s problems lie.

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