Federation Concerns Legit, But JCF Must Do More For Itself

I was some­what sur­prised at the recent news that a police offi­cer hand­ing over a semi-auto­mat­ic weapon at the Castleton Police Station, acci­den­tal­ly shot and injured a colleague.
My dis­be­lief was not about the fail­ure to observe safe­ty stan­dards alone, I have repeat­ed­ly con­tend­ed that the lack of prop­er ongo­ing train­ing and the lack of train­ing facil­i­ties, con­tin­ues to put offi­cers and the pub­lic at risk.
What alarmed me was that in a coun­try that is in the top (five)most vio­lent coun­tries in the world, offi­cers are still required to hand over sidearms after con­clud­ing their tours.
We can no longer argue that offi­cers can­not be trust­ed with firearms off duty if they are untrust­ed with them on duty. When we make those argu­ments we inex­orably ques­tion whole­sale, (a)the char­ac­ter of every­one in the JCF,(b) the abil­i­ty of the agency to select peo­ple who are not crim­i­nals, and © the char­ac­ter of every Jamaican cit­i­zen even.
If we are say­ing that we can­not trust the gate­keep­ers of our soci­ety, who then can we trust.
If we throw out all of the fore­gone, the obvi­ous default must be, that the lives of police offi­cers are still under­val­ued by their civil­ian bosses.

Patrae Rowe

No police offi­cer should be required to go out and pro­tect oth­ers, after which he/​she is stripped of the means to pro­tect his/​her own life, and that of his/​her fam­i­ly, after the tour of duty is com­plete. On this issue, the Police Federation must be unre­lent­ing. On the oth­er hand, it is imper­a­tive that the Federation also uses what­ev­er clout it has to ensure that only the best can­di­dates are select­ed for ser­vice in the depart­ment, and that the screen­ing process is con­stant­ly evolv­ing to ensure only the best and bright­est are allowed in.
Sergent Patrae Rowe, though still con­strained by the rules that gov­ern all mem­bers, has been a vocif­er­ous and fear­less voice for the men and women of the rank and file.
I share Rowe’s dis­gust that the (FLA). would con­jure up rea­sons to deny mem­bers of the nation’s pre­mier law enforce­ment agency the right to a firearm license.
It is impor­tant at this junc­ture to rec­og­nize that the issuance of Passports and firearm licens­es was once a func­tion of the JCF.
There is a legit­i­mate con­ver­sa­tion to be had as to (a) whether police cor­rup­tion caused those two func­tions to be removed from their port­fo­lio, or (b) those func­tions would have been removed regard­less, based on polit­i­cal calculations?

Power cor­rupts, absolute pow­er cor­rupts absolute­ly. When pow­er is placed into the hands of immoral peo­ple they gen­er­al­ly abuse it. The solu­tions are to have con­tin­ued vig­i­lance, and a sys­tem that holds those who would abuse their pow­er accountable.
The actions of the FLA must be viewed with­in that lens, at the same time shout­ing in the wind will do lit­tle to influ­ence change, par­tic­u­lar­ly with an admin­is­tra­tion that has been tone-deaf to the needs of the police.
The efforts of the Federation must be cen­tered on using the tools it has at its dis­pos­al to make the Government sit up and take notice of its demands.

The (FLA), like theJCF, are both arms of the very same gov­ern­ment, it requires tough and sus­tained lob­by­ing pres­sure to get the Parliament to make changes to parts of itself that are not work­ing cohesively.
On the oth­er hand, the inci­dents of attacks on police offi­cers and sol­diers must be cause for alarm, not just to mem­bers of the secu­ri­ty forces and their fam­i­lies, but to all law-abid­ing Jamaicans whom they serve.
The call by Sergeant Rowe for the death penal­ty to be acti­vat­ed for offend­ers who try to kill cops, not just for those who actu­al­ly do so, is under­stand­able, nev­er­the­less, it came off as shrill.

SSPWayne Cameron

I do not want to see a Jamaica in which the death penal­ty is on the table for any­one who is accused of attack­ing police.
There is more than enough evi­dence that when dra­con­ian mea­sures like what the Federation boss is propos­ing becomes law, it becomes a slid­ing scale for police to manip­u­late and abuse.
The JCF, for its own sur­vival and legit­i­ma­cy, must rad­i­cal­ly trans­form its intel­li­gence and inves­tiga­tive capabilities.
Officer’s safe­ty and secu­ri­ty are with­in their own remit, they must decide how they pro­tect them­selves. It is for those rea­sons I sup­port the Federation’s posi­tion as it relates to the FLA.

Nonetheless, mem­bers of the JCF must con­tin­ue to demon­strate that they are equal to the task of pro­tect­ing them­selves, even if oth­er arms of the gov­ern­ment are work­ing against them. The JCF can­not pur­port to be up to the task of pro­tect­ing the nation if it is demon­stra­bly unable to pro­tect itself.
This would be a good time for mem­bers of the Police Officers Association,(POA) the group that rep­re­sents gazetted mem­bers of the force, to throw its sup­port behind the Federation on this issue.
Together we are stronger, over to Senior Superintendent Wayne Cameron and the POA.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, free­lance writer, he is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog mike​beck​les​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al websites.
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