Friday 22 June, 2018

Mark Shields willing to help with crime-fighting in Jamaica

Mark Shields

Mark Shields

Former Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mark Shields’ 10-point plan to make the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) more effective in the fight against crime has been well received and lauded.

In fact, there is a growing call for the former top cop, an Englishman, to seek to actually implement his plan by throwing his hat in the ring to become the next police commissioner.

But will he do so?

Talking with Loop News, he made it clear that the top priorities should be taking the streets back from criminals, building a top management team, getting rid of corrupt officers, building the JCF’s investigative capacity, and reforming the JCF into a much more service-oriented organization.

Shields said the focus should not be heavily placed on his candidacy to become the next police commissioner, but rather on making the JCF more effective.

Many people point to his international experience, plus the fact that he has lived in Jamaica now for many years and could do an effective job, not to mention that he is known to be well regarded by international law enforcement agencies.

But how keen is he to fill the top spot in the JCF?

“I am sure there are a number of outstanding candidates who could do a very good job. I am willing to support a good appointment and serve in a strategic capacity on an oversight body like EPOC,” outlined Shields.

“If my experience and suggestions can be of some help, then I would make a contribution to improving law enforcement in Jamaica,” he elaborated.

Shields currently works in the private sector, heading his company, Shields Security Service. He has more than 30 years of policing in some of the world’s toughest criminal hotspots, from Frankfurt in Germany, London in the United Kingdom, to Kingston, Jamaica.

He also has experience in VIP protection, hostage negotiation, strategic intelligence and serious crime, and anti-terrorist investigations.

He was the first international senior police officer to be recruited into the JCF, and was later appointed Deputy Commissioner in charge of the crime and intelligence portfolios.

From 2005 - the year he was appointed DCP - to 2006, the number of murders in Jamaica fell by 20 per cent from 1,680 to 1,340.

But last year there were 1,616 murders, and for this year up to February 6, a total of 156 people have been killed in Jamaica.

Shields is notably, a strong advocate of employing technology and forensic techniques in crime-fighting, and favours Jamaica developing more neighbourhood watch programmes to assist the police in its work.

And what does he think of calls locally for former Sagicor boss, Richard Byles, or Musson Group head, PB Scott, to be appointed the new police commissioner?

“Most interesting,” mused the well-spoken Englishman, before giving a masterful take on the matter.

“… there are those who want someone with no police experience to head the force. Perhaps (then) a top law enforcement professional can (easily) step in and become the head of NCB.”