Jamaica Needs A Competent Security Agency Working Behind The Scenes, The JCF Has Not Been That…

I did not know him but the news of his pass­ing came as an absolute shock to me in the form of a Facebook noti­fi­ca­tion from a post of an old col­league.
Clunis just passed”.
It was not the kind of news any­one who sup­ports the rule of law was expect­ing, and it cer­tain­ly could not be the news that Superintendent Leon Clunis’ fam­i­ly was expect­ing, and on the day that he was to be dis­charged from the hos­pi­tal no less.
On June 12th four offi­cers were shot in an ear­ly morn­ing oper­a­tion led by Superintendent Leon Clunis. Detective Corporal Dane Biggs, and Constable Decardo Hylton were killed instant­ly, while Clunis and anoth­er offi­cer were seri­ous­ly injured.
The death of SP Leon Clunis at a time when he was per­ceived to be get­ting bet­ter, brings back in a shock­ing case of déjà vu the pass­ing of his old­er broth­er Hopeton Clunis, who took ill here in the States and went home only to die sud­den­ly days after telling me he was ready to go back to work.
Hopeton Clunis also served his coun­try in the JCF before emi­grat­ing to the United States.

My per­son­al grief at the loss of what is now three offi­cers, has noth­ing to do with know­ing either of them. I did not know either of them, but Jamaicans of all stripes who love our coun­try have a shared inter­est in the sur­vival of the rule of law.
The coun­try we love can­not be divorced from the enforce­ment of our laws, and so we mourn for those who ded­i­cate their lives to uphold­ing our laws.
On a per­son­al note, hav­ing served in the JCF, laughed and cried with my col­leagues, toiled and bled, we know all too well what their sac­ri­fice means to our coun­try.
Without the rule of law, there is no coun­try, there is no legit­i­mate claim regard­ing the love of coun­try, with­out a com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of the role the main­te­nance of law and order plays in that process.
As a for­mer mem­ber, I have writ­ten hun­dreds and hun­dreds of arti­cles, crit­i­ciz­ing, sup­port­ing, push­ing, cajol­ing, encour­ag­ing the JCF.
In so doing I have made count­less rec­om­men­da­tions to the polit­i­cal author­i­ties on mea­sures, that if applied, would marked­ly change and improve the crime tra­jec­to­ry in our country.

Regardless of which polit­i­cal par­ty is in pow­er, the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus hard­ly seem to be any bet­ter off.
There is no short­age of fan­cy lan­guage from the exec­u­tives when­ev­er the sub­ject of crime and crim­i­nal­i­ty is broached. What always seems to be miss­ing are fun­da­men­tal and con­crete steps in the most basic aspects of polic­ing in our coun­try.
My own impres­sion of this is one of exas­per­a­tion. When we do not antic­i­pate events and even­tu­al­i­ties and plan ahead for them, we end up with inci­dents like the one which occurred in Horizon Park Saint Catherine on June 12th of this year.
The most frus­trat­ing aspect of the present cir­cum­stances with­in the JCF is that the very same sense of com­fort­a­bil­i­ty seems to exist today as it did almost three decades ago when I was a serv­ing mem­ber.
Highly reac­tionary respons­es fol­lowed by a reset­tling, then back to the sta­tus quo.

The strate­gies of the past can­not and will not work, the ele­ments with­in our soci­ety that are intent on break­ing the laws and destroy­ing lives do not play by the rules that the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus is play­ing by.
The idea in 2020 that cor­dons and sweeps will aid in low­er­ing crime is not backed up by data.
The polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence into police oper­a­tional per­spec­tives have all but destroyed the JCF and ren­dered it a very expen­sive but use­less paper Tiger.
I total­ly under­stand that the fore­gone is not the kind of thing that will square with the polit­i­cal­ly affil­i­at­ed, civil­ian, or cop.
Notwithstanding, some­times the truth is unpalat­able and we have to take the bit­ter medicine.

One of the issues plagu­ing the JCF is its inabil­i­ty to co-opt prac­ti­cal, tried, and proven strate­gies.
That con­tin­ued fail­ure is sole­ly the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the high com­mand.
The fail­ures of the JCF is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the high com­mand, con­trary to what many mem­bers past and present believe.
Competent lead­er­ship devise strate­gies, del­e­gate respon­si­bil­i­ty for their exe­cu­tion, and put in place mea­sur­able account­abil­i­ty mark­ers.
This holds senior man­agers and mid­dle man­agers account­able.
By exten­sion, mid­dle man­agers are respon­si­ble for the results through­out the entire depart­ment.
Accountability does not mean [pres­sur­ing, or cre­at­ing a tox­ic work­place] for the men and women of the depart­ment.
On the con­trary, clear­ly demarked account­abil­i­ty stan­dards make the job of the junior mem­bers more defined and there­fore more achievable.

Contrarily, the depart­ment has sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly adopt­ed the hifa­lutin lan­guage of the upper Saint Andrew elites, and have allowed spe­cial inter­est groups to bleed unrea­son­able con­cepts into police train­ing.
As a con­se­quence, they have inte­grat­ed unwork­able poli­cies into the JCF that are detri­men­tal and down­right dan­ger­ous to offi­cer safe­ty, pos­es an exis­ten­tial threat to their lives, and dimin­ish­es their abil­i­ty to be effec­tive police offi­cers.
Jamaica is not the coun­try for cour­tesy corp cops.
This may not be palat­able to Andrew Holness, nor Peter Phillips, it may not play well with the know it all peo­ple in upper Saint Andrew, but real police work is not always pret­ty.
As a result, offi­cers must be giv­en the train­ing they need to be able to meet and deal with all emerg­ing threats.

Being equipped to deal with emerg­ing threats is not syn­ony­mous with abu­sive polic­ing. Being appro­pri­ate­ly trained to meet the threats of today can­not be decou­pled from effec­tive polic­ing in the 21st cen­tu­ry.
Years ago I wrote that the JCF is on a course to becom­ing a cour­tesy corps. There is noth­ing wrong with cour­tesy [per-se], but when bul­lets start fly­ing, the coun­try needs com­pe­tent police offi­cers who know how to respond appro­pri­ate­ly to put down those threats.
No one in their right mind could rea­son­ably argue that the qual­i­ty of the train­ing being giv­en to mem­bers of the JCF is up to par with the sophis­ti­ca­tion of the crim­i­nal minds in our coun­try at this time.
Additionally, train­ing should be an ongo­ing annu­al part of being a police officer.

The JCF’s inabil­i­ty to learn from events of the past, or worse yet, its inabil­i­ty to pre­plan strate­gies and con­tin­gen­cies to effec­tu­ate quick solu­tions when a cri­sis emerges, con­tin­ue to be an Achilles heel for the force.
In arti­cle after arti­cle that I wrote in the past, I cau­tioned the police to pay close atten­tion to the data the depart­ment gleans from depor­tees. That is not to say that all of the peo­ple deport­ed to Jamaica are crim­i­nals, nei­ther are they all on an inevitable course of com­mit­ting vio­lent crimes.
However, hav­ing access to that data which gives law enforce­ment a wealth of infor­ma­tion on a returnee’s past, is invalu­able to law enforce­men­t’s abil­i­ty to gath­er addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion and keep an eye on the most vio­lent returnees.
A per­son­’s past is some­times a pro­logue to their future.

The JCF seems to be stuck going to work in the morn­ing, going through the motions, going home at nights, then do it all over again the next day .….…day in day out. Sadly that kind of polic­ing has long passed.
The JCF is sup­posed to be the pre­em­i­nent secu­ri­ty agency in the coun­try. Threats nev­er sleep, they nev­er stop, there­fore there can be no break in the con­ti­nu­ity of vig­i­lance need­ed to police Jamaica, one of the most vio­lent places on earth.
Jamaica is nice, it is a beau­ti­ful place, but in order to keep it that way, it will require a com­pe­tent secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus work­ing behind the scenes.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force has cer­tain­ly not been that force.

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