Transforming The JCF, The Only Metric That Matters Is Results.

This is what passed for a police sta­tion in Portland, and this is not the worst case.

A legit­i­mate point could be made that the Andrew Holness-led Government has pro­vid­ed more ameni­ties to the police than pre­vi­ous administrations.
I do not have the pre­cise dol­lar amounts, nei­ther do I have the num­bers nec­es­sary to deci­sive­ly account for infla­tion in those dol­lar amounts today as opposed to yesteryear.
However, with the advent of social media and a savvy admin­is­tra­tion that under­stands the val­ue of social media and optics, we can clear­ly see that some improve­ments are being made.
If the idea is to trans­form the JCF into a show­piece, I under­stand the polit­i­cal optics. But, on the oth­er hand, I hard­ly believe that the Jamaican peo­ple who are law-abid­ing care about fan­cy titles and optics while their loved ones are being gunned down and see­ing their killers walk around scot-free.

Shady Grove police sta­tion in Lluidas Vale, St Catherine

New Police Stations, com­put­ers, and oth­er ameni­ties are all pos­i­tives that should be lauded.
On the oth­er hand, lets us tem­per the acco­lades. Let us under­stand that the gov­ern­men­t’s pri­ma­ry duty is to keep the pop­u­la­tion safe.
Unfortunately, for decades, the JCF has been the bas­tard child of gov­ern­ment work­ers. Officers have been asked to work in the most dilap­i­dat­ed and unsan­i­tary con­di­tions. In con­trast, oth­er work­ers have been bet­ter treat­ed, giv­en new offices with state-of-the-art ameni­ties as a mat­ter of course.
A case in point is the new plush offices cre­at­ed for INDECOM, an agency that takes none of the risk police offi­cers are forced to take but were giv­en the best con­di­tions to do what­ev­er they do. They are gov­ern­ment work­ers deserv­ing of no greater respect than our hard-work­ing police officers.
We should not be in the busi­ness of heap­ing acco­lades on politi­cians for doing what they are elect­ed to do.
On that note, I ask police offi­cers, past and present, not to look at these issues through a polit­i­cal lens but to see issues affect­ing polic­ing and the secu­ri­ty of our coun­try through the lens of impar­tial police officers.
One of the much-par­rot­ted nar­ra­tives we hear is that the police depart­ment is being transformed.


Transformation is good, but what is the force being trans­formed from and into?
Supplying the police force with cars and motor­cy­cles is not a trans­for­ma­tion; that is com­pa­ny policy.
The police need to have cars, motor­cy­cles, and oth­er means of trans­porta­tion to do their jobs effectively.
On the one hand, the Prime Minister has been caus­tic against the police depart­ment and how it does busi­ness; one fact remains, despite his attacks, the police depart­ment was vast­ly more effec­tive than it is today in every sta­tis­ti­cal category.
The much-maligned ways ‘things were done’ reaped rewards that this new force can only hope to accom­plish. Let me be clear; it has nev­er been that our offi­cers were unable to han­dle the vio­lence pro­duc­ers; it has always been the polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence that has always hob­bled law enforce­ment in Jamaica. It is not that the force of today can­not han­dle the vio­lence pro­duc­ers; the same prob­lem of pol­i­tics in overt and covert ways still hin­ders crime-fight­ing on the Island.
In the past, politi­cians like the Prime Minister, his National Security Minister Horace Chang, and cer­tain­ly the so-called jus­tice min­is­ter Delroy Chuck have been imped­i­ments to the police doing their jobs effectively.
The admin­is­tra­tion can cre­ate new squads and slap­ping on them new fan­cy-sound­ing names like “rapid response teams, but the real­i­ty is that the prime min­is­ter and his team are not recre­at­ing the wheel they maligned and demo­nized; they are squads.
The Mobile reserve had a rapid response team from as far back as the 1970s and ’80s. Then, it was called the Honda squad; yup, it was a squad then, the rapid response team today is a squad...
So they can malign the old ways, the old squads, but I am here to say slap­ping a new fan­cy name to a group of guys on motor­cy­cles and pre­tend­ing that it means that you are trans­form­ing the force is laughable.”
I am very sup­port­ive of a trans­formed JCF.
One of the rea­sons that have impact­ed the high attri­tion rate from the JCF has been the incom­pe­tence and cow­ardice of the Force’s lead­er­ship and the under­ly­ing prob­lems of polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence in the Force’s operations.
As I applaud the gov­ern­ment for chang­ing the face of police sta­tions and sup­ply­ing the police with uni­forms and oth­er accou­ter­ments of the trade, it is impor­tant to rec­on­cile that unless the depart­ment gets the leg­isla­tive help, train­ing, and sup­port it needs to root out vio­lent offend­ers, it will be for nothing.

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

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