Thursday 9 April, 2020

JCF needs serious soul searching, says police commissioner

Major General Antony Anderson

Major General Antony Anderson

Amid ongoing investigations into the matter, and a promised press conference in relation to the issues that were involved, Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, has spoken out on the highly controversial and embarrassing incident that involved four policemen in Spanish Town, St Catherine over the weekend.

The commissioner has expressed disappointment over the turn of events in the old capital late on Saturday night into Sunday morning, and has lashed out at the actions of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), whose conduct he said had once again broken the trust between members of the public and the police.

“I am extremely concerned and disappointed about the events that transpired last Saturday night into Sunday morning, as I am sure most of you are,” said the police to the membership of the JCF in a circular.

 “The public who we serve has once again been given reason not to trust or have confidence in us. When incidents like these occur, the good we do and the sacrifices we make, get drowned out amid the noise of public outcry” the commissioner stated.

He said it was unfair for the good, dedicated and decent police officers of the JCF to have to bear the burden of members who are selfish, corrupt and have no regard for the rule of law.

 “We have to re-calibrate our force and ground it on three pillars – rule of law, respect for all, and force for good. The time for transformation and renewal is upon us, and we must own this process,” he added.

“In this regard, there are a number of areas in which changes will be made. In the first instance, the processes, procedures, structures, equipment and training around specialised operations will be re-examined.

The Mobile Reserve, which has for many years led on this, will need to be wound up and a new specialised operations branch formed,” outlined the top cop.

“This new unit will be adequately manned, equipped, trained and led to meet the current and future threats to our country.

 “Let me reassure the good men and women currently serving in (the) Mobile Reserve, that you need not worry about what is to happen, as there is always a place for the good and committed,” said the commissioner.

He said he was aware of the critical role that the members of the Mobile Reserve play in “our crime-fighting efforts. However, as a unit, its reputation has over time been tarnished to the point where it is associated with human rights abuses and persons operating outside of the normal roles and accountability framework of the force.”

Major General Anderson further said: “This reputation both locally and abroad, affects every officer in the unit, even if they have operated with honour and integrity. This is unacceptable, and has obtained for far too long. This is the first step on our path to becoming the trusted and credible force that Jamaica needs, where officers serve with pride and dignity.

He added that, “There will be a suite of audits into various aspects of the force, including how we have delivered service to the public.”

He said “Based on the outcomes of this process, we will undertake the various reforms that will transition us into an organisation we can be proud of. The well-meaning and dedicated members of the force can rest assured that I will be moving aggressively on corruption, solicitation of money, rude and abusive behaviour, and disregard for policies and procedures of the organisation.

 “We will together, redefine ourselves in the minds of the people we serve and in our own minds, so that we put service above self and become the highly respected and trusted force we must be,” said the commissioner.

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