Sunday 16 June, 2019

Cops on edge over shortage of bulletproof vests

The police have stepped up their drive to flood streets across the country with more members as they seek to break the back of the crime monster, but questions about the level of resources the officers are given to carry out the task that involves risking lives and limbs, are again being raised.

Concerns have emerged amid a probe by Loop News that revealed that many of the island’s security officers are still being sent to take up duties without proper protection in the form of bulletproof vests.

The probe has revealed that hundreds of police officers, many of them just leaving training school, are being sent on the roads daily to serve without the proper protective gear, especially bulletproof vests. 

High-level sources said many Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) members have even been working in areas where Zones of Special Operations (ZOSO) or states of emergency have been imposed, without being equipped with bulletproof vests.

File photo of police officers during an operation in West Kingston.

Members of the Police High Command, when questioned on the matter, said major steps are being taken to address the concerns that have placed a number of JCF members on edge, especially with criminals in several quarters becoming far more brazen of late, as they seek to unleash hellish-like terror on some communities across the country.

Contacts made with senior members of the Jamaica Police Federation, confirmed that the reports about the shortage of vests is not only true, but also a major area of concern among police personnel.

"Yes we have raised the concerns and the police federation has been advocating for these matters, shortage of vests included, to be addressed," said Arlene McBean, the former Chairman of the federation.

Patrae Rowe, the current Chairman of the federation, also spoke on the issue, saying it is something that he and members of his team have been advocating for.

Rowe... says he was informed that a number of vests recently arrived in the island. 

He said he was assured that the matter was being dealt with urgently.

He also revealed that coming out of those ongoing discussions, he was informed that up to last week, a number of vests that were ordered by the JCF, arrived in the island, and promises were made that more are to come.

But despite these assurances, reports are emerging that many members of the force are not satisfied with the pace at which the matter is being dealt with.

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