Watching Jamaican cops execute arrests is like root canal , rather painful to live through.
As a public service I have tried to use this medium to not only critique the criminal justice system but to inform , educate, and opine on how we can make it better.
The Jamaican Legislature in this regard is like an old train track , it simply lays there regardless of what happens, it gets overgrown with weeds, debris stays exactly where it is left on it, regardless of the danger to coming trains.
So since we cannot rely on the legislature to do anything about this epidemic of resisting arrest in our country, it behoove the police to acquire and use best practices , even if they have to sources those practices from YouTube videos.
The longer it takes for officers to execute an arrest the more dangerous the situation becomes.
It shows a lack of ability on the part of the officer/s , it emboldens the offender and it encourages bystanders to get involved.
♦So the first order of business in executing an arrest is speed.
Once an offender is told in sharp , clear and concise language that he/she is under arrest , the next command must be , turn around and place your hands behind your back.
The reason for ordering the offender to turn away from you the officer, and place his/her arms behind the back, is to mitigate potential harm to you the officer.
It also gives a clear indication right away to you the officer whether this offender intends to resist arrest or not.
♦ The next step is to move swiftly and decidedly to the offender and place him in handcuffs , always with hands cuffed behind the back.
If the offender is belligerent , argumentative , and non-compliant, officer/s must bring the offender to the ground and execute the arrest as swiftly as possible .
♦In executing an arrest there should be no circumstances in which an officer or two struggles with effecting an arrest while another officer is standing around like a casual observer.
In the event that happens the department should forthwith send that officer back for retraining ‚or he or she should be dismissed from the service.
♦ Officers must all move in to execute the arrest swiftly and safely for all involved including the offender.
They should also ensure that no one intervenes to interfere in the arrest.
As such, if there are several officers on scene one officer must ensure that no one gets close to officers engaged in effecting that arrest.
A bystander wishing to intervene can easily grab an officer’s gun and create untold harm to officers.
As such any bystanders who refuses to move to a safe distance from officers, incites the person being arrested to resist arrest or otherwise interferes, must also be arrested immediately.
The issue of executing arrests safely is critical to both officer safety and that of the offender .
Just last week two people lost their lives in a situation from all indications which suggest that proper arrest protocols were not observed .
Constable Leighton Hanson of the Constant Spring Police was killed allegedly by an offender he tried to take into custody, but clearly did not follow the established protocols.
He lost his life after the offender reportedly grabbed his weapon and shot him. He was killed by members of the JDF who were passing and witnessed the incident.
Every person who is told that he is under arrest is capable of murdering a police officer.
No one wants to go to jail .
They snap and do things they never thought they would do.
Subsequently each and every officer must ensure that they are prepared to deal with any situation the moment they decide to arrest an offender.
For the safety of all, the arrest must be done swiftly , decisively, and with authority.
That does not mean abusively.
Every person who is told that he is under arrest has a duty under the law to submit to being arrested , regardless of whether he/she thinks the arrest is justified or not.
You do not have a right to fight with a police officer .
The police is given the power to use appropriate force to ensure that you submit to the arrest .
It is important that every person understand this obligation under the law.
If you resist and try to cause harm to the arresting officer , the officer have a right to use the necessary force to bring you under compliance.
Here’s what is critical to understand, the arresting officer has the latitude based on his/her assessment of the danger to him or herself to use even lethal force to subdue you as a result of the threat he/she perceives to him/herself.
Why would you engage in a fight with someone who is authorized to use any level of force, including lethal force to subdue you?
What do you think is going to happen when you resist arrest?
Do you think that a properly trained officer who knows he is doing his duty by the book is going to walk away because you decide to resist arrest?
Guess again .
You will have your day in court .You will also have a right to an attorney who will advise you of your rights including your right to civil action if you believe you were wronged .
We cannot have a society in which every arrest has to be accompanied by violence.
Constable Leighton Hanson is dead , I hear no statement which would indicate that a single legislator understand the need, much less have the intention to propose changes which would make resisting arrest a felony.
That law could be named the Hanson act in honor of that slain officer.
This probably won’t happen where there is no vision outside the banging on desks and the insults which permeate what happens in Gordon House when the 63 miscreants get in there.
Every time I ask, I am told that there is proper training on how best to execute arrests .
I have not seen that professional execution in arrest videos that make their way onto social media platforms.
Newly installed Commissioner of police George Quallo would be well advised to ensure that whatever his department has on arrest training, is revamped and re-redesigned .
Clearly what exist is not working .Additionally his department issues the weekly force orders to the public, a move I said was a bad one when Owen Ellington former commissioner embarked on it.
Nevertheless it can be a medium used to educate the public about the dangers of resisting arrest until hopefully something serious is done about this practice.