New & Restructured Police Looks Like Keystone-cops, As Crime Continue To Escalate

Events of note in our soci­eties war­rant at least a sec­ond look to see if we may learn from them. If they are not what we want them to be, we may see whether we can reme­di­ate them.
The actions of 42-year-old Stephen Witter, a Stony Hill res­i­dent, when approached by Police on Hellshire Public beach is one such event that offers all stake­hold­ers a teach­able moment.
The police, the Public, the Government& Opposition Legislators, and even our children.
Stephen Witter was among a group of men approached by the police for alleged breach­es of the Disaster Risk Management Act,(gathering close togeth­er, with­out social dis­tanc­ing or wear­ing masks).

Stephen Witter’s actions were so hos­tile; they result­ed in the group of heav­i­ly armed police offi­cers walk­ing away, choos­ing, sup­pos­ed­ly to de-esca­late, out of fear of crowd intervention.
The inci­dent, from the mask, man­dates, the police approach to enforce­ment, Witter and his cronies response, the police own response all bears a real­ly clos­er look.
Inherent in all of those events, we see the soci­etal rot that con­tin­ues to plague Jamaica, result­ing in the volu­mi­nous vio­lent crime sta­tis­tics the Island con­tin­ues to experience.

The Disaster Risk Management Act

The police are report­ed to have approached the group of men because they were not adher­ing to the Disaster Risk Management Act.
I com­mend the offi­cers for also pay­ing atten­tion to the small things. When the small things are attend­ed to, it sends a mes­sage that big things will not be tolerated.
From what we have learned, the Act is not as plain as it could be in giv­ing the police clear and unequiv­o­cal sight on how the law is to be enforced. Credit the Jamaican Parliament for its inabil­i­ty to write a good piece of leg­is­la­tion that is unambiguous.
Witter is from Stony Hills; we don’t know whether he or his cronies were on the beach legit­i­mate­ly or not; that is some­thing it seemed that the police did not both­er to investigate.
It seems that a breach of the above-men­tioned act, was the least of which Witter could legit­i­mate­ly be charged with.

The Police Approach
One of the most absurd propo­si­tions I see being advanced today about polic­ing in Jamaica, is that cops should retreat and come back lat­er to arrest offend­ers, much like how they went back and arrest­ed Stephen Witter.
There are sce­nar­ios in which the police are forced to sus­pend actions to get bet­ter out­comes, for var­i­ous reasons.
What can­not become the norm is for the police to be forced to sus­pend mak­ing arrests for a future date, even in sit­u­a­tions where sev­er­al offi­cers are present, as in the Witter case.
At that rate, Jamaica will nev­er be able to hire enough police offi­cers to make arrests in a coun­try that is already a high crime, volatile and law­less country.
The alter­na­tive can­not become the norm; police must not step back from mak­ing arrests out of fear that bystanders will intervene.
We need penal­ties that dis­suade, and offi­cers who are unafraid. We must ensure that those who would inter­fere in an arrest, jus­ti­fied or not, will think long and hard about the length of time they will spend in prison for their actions.
The Police have demon­strat­ed that they are not up to the task. People respond based on the actions of the police. If the police are hes­i­tant and ten­ta­tive, the crowd is embold­ened. If the police are uni­fied and method­i­cal in car­ry­ing out their pur­pose, the voic­es in oppo­si­tion become a lot less bellicose.
We see the evi­dence of the police’s inabil­i­ty to make sim­ple arrests, even when they have num­bers; the train­ing’s inad­e­qua­cy is embar­rass­ing in its glar­ing obviousness.
The once trea­sured con­cept of esprit de corps that once guid­ed how offi­cers con­verged quick­ly to effec­tu­ate arrests have been replaced by feck­less­ness and hes­i­tan­cy, giv­ing rise to more lawlessness.

The pub­lic’s approach

Policing Jamaica’s streets has always been a chal­lenge; peo­ple gang­ing up on cops they believe to be weak and feck­less is noth­ing new.
In fact, peo­ple go out of their way to test police offi­cer’s met­tle, we can ques­tion the legit­i­ma­cy of their ways, but we may not deny that they do.
They will get in a new offi­cer’s face ad they will even assault offi­cers to see what they are made of. The chal­lenge for young cops in that Serengeti of chaos and crim­i­nal­i­ty, is that they are expect­ed to absorb the assaults to their per­sons, with­out any atten­dant puni­tive law to pun­ish offenders.
By that mea­sure, offi­cers are being asked to sac­ri­fice their bod­ies and lives to main­tain order in a hos­tile envi­ron­ment cre­at­ed and helped by politicians.
The options open to the Jamaican police offi­cer in Andrew Holness’s Jamaica are bina­ry, (a) go hard against offend­ers backed up by their pow­ers enshrined in the JCF Act, or (b) Ignore it all and go home to their families.
The Andrew Holness, Horace Chang, Delroy Chuck, Antony Anderson, UWI idea of polic­ing, has been a night­mare for law-abid­ing Jamaicans and their families.
The mur­der rate con­tin­ues to spi­ral out of con­trol because the police can­not do their jobs.
What we wit­nessed on that Hellshire beach must be laid square­ly at the feet of Andrew Holness, a Spanish Town pro­tégée’ who grew up resent­ing the police.
We wit­ness these events play­ing out across the coun­try because of his con­tin­u­ing inter­fer­ence in polic­ing and the poli­cies he has been putting in place to ham­string the police’s efforts to do their jobs effectively.

The Legislators
We know they are dumb, even to the point of being moron­ic. We know they can­not write a piece of Legislation that stip­u­lates clear intent. We even know that some of them have con­flicts of inter­est, and some are even mixed up in criminality.
But the leg­is­la­tors, too, have a job to do here; if the laws aren’t work­ing, change the damn laws.
At what point will it dawn on those morons that the coun­try is going to hell in a hand­bas­ket, because the laws are too criminal-friendly?
The Jamaicans who stri­dent­ly break laws do so because they know that they will not be pun­ished in any mean­ing­ful way, even if they are caught. They also know that even when caught break­ing the laws, they can fight or intim­i­date the police, a force that is so feck­less, sev­er­al offi­cers will retreat because they are afraid of a few loud­mouth punks.
Even though this pat­tern has been a sta­ple for decades, what pass­es for leg­is­la­tors in the peo­ple’s house have failed to enact leg­is­la­tion mak­ing it a felony to inter­fere in arrests, mak­ing it a felony to assault a police officer.
That is the rea­son this writer has zero respect for that body of mal­con­tents who are mere­ly cheap hus­tlers look­ing to make a buck.

The Police

It is tough to watch them effec­tu­ate even the sim­plest arrest. I have no more ener­gy to waste; these guys are what they are. They are them­selves, vic­tims of the envi­ron­ment they grew up in, and are now forced to police.
If this is the new and improved polic­ing that Andrew Holness unleashed on Jamaica in his grand restruc­tur­ing plan, head­ed by a med­ical doc­tor, and exe­cut­ed by a sol­dier, God helps our country.
The car­toon­ish idea of a police com­mis­sion­er beg­ging offend­ers not to resist arrest, is the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the Barney-Fyffe car­i­ca­ture the JCF has become under the assault of this bunch of losers.

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Mike Beckles is a for­mer Police Detective, busi­ness­man, free­lance writer, black achiev­er hon­oree, and cre­ator of the blog mike​beck​les​.com.