Saturday 17 August, 2019

Commissioner Anderson reflects on and marks a year in the job

Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson.

Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson.

Major General Antony Anderson on Tuesday celebrated his one-year anniversary since taking up the job as Commissioner of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

 “Today marks one year since I was appointed Commissioner of Police, and I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to the officers, men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for welcoming me and working with me over this period,” the top cop said in a release to members of the constabulary.

“Though I came to the JCF with over 30 years’ experience in securing our nation, I had much to learn about our 150-year organisation and its members,” Major General Anderson said.

He said he was grateful for the experience.

“I have been heartened to recognise the depth of talent that resides within our force, and excited by the benefits those skills will accrue for Jamaica.

“The past 12-month period has seen several wide-ranging initiatives being introduced by the JCF, both internally and externally, as well as record inroads being made in the areas of crime management and public order,” he stated.

He said during the period, “we have moved in to occupy critical community spaces once controlled by criminals.

“The enhanced security measures in tandem with other crime management initiatives, along with social interventions, improved the overall quality of life for residents.”

The police commissioner said the resulting impact contributed to statistics over the period showing hundreds of lives being saved.

He said in addition to this, over 650 murders have been cleared up, “so we have assisted with providing closure to numerous families, which is also critical”.

Added the commissioner: “We should feel a sense of pride about this, while acknowledging that there is so much more to be done to bring the level of violent crimes to international norms.”

What grade would you give the police commissioner after one year?

A
28%
B
33%
C
20%
D
2%
E
2%
F
15%

Another area of focus he pointed to was the gradual improvement of the JCF’s investigative capacity with the use of scientific evidence, focusing mainly on gangs and transnational crime.

“We now have 13 gangs before the courts and we must be unrelenting in the pursuit of dismantling organised crime by ensuring that the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has all the evidence they need to prosecute these cases,” said Major General Anderson.

“As you know, public safety and security has also been a high priority in year one, with an entire branch, (the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch) being instituted to target the public need for compliance and safety on the streets, especially with respect to undisciplined driving behavior,” he added.

“The massive number of tickets issued since the inception of the branch - 313,063 - evidences the key role played by us in the multi-agency chain needed to bring the offenders to justice, though this sometimes seems like a never-ending challenge, very often with situations beyond our control making a difficult task even harder, we must persevere,” he elaborated.

The commissioner pointed to several internal mechanisms have also come under the microscope, with professional standards, technology incorporation, officer welfare and other areas already reportedly seeing significant changes in organisational and infrastructural support and execution.

“I understand that some of these changes are long in coming, and have been a source of frustration for many, and need to be implemented swiftly. I will be embarking on an island-wide tour of the stations in April, so I can interact with as many members as possible in the communities you serve.”

He said moving forward, improving interaction with the public must be a major focus area for the year ahead,

“This will be supported by robust enforcement of professional standards to ensure uniformity in the public’s experience with the police.

“Quite often it is only complaints that are ventilated about the JCF, but we know that daily there are instances worthy of commendation, and we are establishing a mechanism where it will be easy for members of the public to register commendations as well as complaints,” Anderson indicated.

He also issued a clear statement on indiscipline in the JCF.

“Members must and will be sanctioned for behaviour that is not in keeping with the standards we are sworn to enforce. We must at all times be role models for citizens and a place of reassurance and refuge. I sincerely believe that the JCF has the capacity to be the largest human rights organisation in Jamaica, as we are the front-line defenders of citizens’ rights, and we must act accordingly.

“It is not possible for your training or even years of experience to prepare you for every situation you will encounter, but once we abide by ‘Rule of Law’ and mandate of a ‘Force for Good’, the correct outcome will be achieved.

“I look forward to the year ahead with enthusiasm, as I believe our greatest accomplishments are yet to come. Once again, I wish to thank the hardworking and talented members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force who are committed to being a Force for Good in the lives of all Jamaicans,” concluded the commissioner.

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