Friday 29 May, 2020

Top cop lays out his performance slate for the first year in office

The Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, has updated the nation in his first press conference since taking office as the country’s top cop.

Anderson said in his first year on the job, he has managed (while working with other officers) to implement a number of programmes within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) that he believes have laid a foundation that will bring about long-term positive effects on the crime problem in the country.

The top cop, who would have benefitted from more states of emergency and Zones of Special Operation (ZOSO) across the country than any other commissioner in the history of independent Jamaica, said in his first year he sat out to address a number of key areas of the JCF’s operation.

He said some of those measures have started to reap success, but as to how well he performed over the period, he was leaving it up to the people of Jamaica to judge.

The commissioner said in relation to his first year in office, he broke down the period into four three-month blocks and particular areas of emphasis.

He said several of the objectives were realised, but there is still room for improvement.

He also said that in regards to the work that has been done, he could not say whether or not it matched the expectations that the public had of him.


“The decision on whether that matches what the people’s expectations were is really for the public to decide because I am a public servant,” said the commissioner.

“In my first year, I laid out things a particular way. The first thing we had to do was to deal with high violence, an extremely high murder rate from the year before, which was 2017, in which there were 1,600-plus murders.”

He said the first thing he had to do was to continue the process of getting that murder rate under control and getting it down.

“In March (2018) when I got in, that rate was five per cent above what it was in 2017, and the end of the year (2018), it was 22 per cent below what it was in 2017,” said Anderson.

“So that was the first thing; you can almost break up the year in three-month segments,” he indicated.

He said “the second three-month period was about the development of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch that was done to prepare us to deal with the concerns that we knew would arise, considering all of the road works and all of the things that were going to happen in September (2018), with back-to-school and closed roads, and how we would manage this and how we would show enough presence on the streets that people would have some level of confidence that the police were actually doing something (about these issues).

“We had to very rapidly put that branch together, and it speaks highly of the all of the officers who were involved in that process to actually put that together in a matter of three months in order to launch at that point,” said the commissioner.

He said the third three-month period related specifically to emphasis on police investigations.

He said he spent this period working with the three top investigators within the JCF, about building solid cases against organised criminal gangs and networks, so that their memberships could be brought to trial.

He said there are a number of cases against criminal gangs that are now in process.

Anderson said that the three-month period was also used to emphasise to the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) that there needs to be greater use of anti-gang legislation and forensic and scientific evidence to solve cases.

“In the fourth quarter, the emphasis shifted to professional standards and the inspectorate. We started to look at our self and to see what the public concerns are with regards to our own activities, how we account and the accountability mechanisms, and also how we follow our own rules, and how we deal with matters of corruption when they arise, and just how we deal with the level and type of service that we are required to give to the public,” the commissioner outlined.

“That lays out almost in four three-month blocks how I apportioned that time in terms of areas of emphasis. This is what I have been doing, the decision, and whether that matches what the people’s expectations were is really for the public to decide on, because I am a public servant,” concluded Anderson.

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