The Jamaica Constabulary Force: Transformation To Meet The Challenges Of The 21st Century
If there is one single expectation of Government, which we share throughout our lives, it is security and protection. This is one of the most basic functions of all forms of Government throughout the ages. This policy paper, inevitably concentrates on those aspects of reform, which are primarily matters for the police. However, we approach radical change not from the standpoint of those delivering the service, but from those reliant on it. We want to look at the way in which we can substantially improve the standard, reliability, consistency, and responsiveness of the service. Jamaicans of all ages are sick and tired of anti-social thuggish behaviour. They are fed up with hearing that ‘nothing can be done’ or ‘if only’ someone else would do something, then ‘we might be able to help’. Our task is clear. We want to prevent, detect, apprehend, and convict the perpetrators of crime. We need and should have a process that enables those undertaking the basic task of protecting our homes, our streets, and our persons, to do the job more effectively. Whether in dramatically slimming down bureaucracy and reassigning tasks in a way that frees up police officers to do their real job more effectively, or in extending what we are calling the ‘police family’ to engage others in policing, or in adopting more modern techniques: Change must be brought about. But the challenge of modernisation is to bring about the kind of improvements that are welcomed by everyone – except those more concerned about protecting their comfortable ways of working. The challenge to us is to provide the means which will enable police officers and support staff to work better, and to do their job free from complicated and time consuming procedures, unnecessary to achieve results or to protect basic rights. For it is those who are least able to buy their way out of deprived and drug-ridden neighbourhoods, who cannot afford private protection or security checks, who are the main victims of crime. So, for those who care most about human rights, it is the elderly and frail, the intimidated mother with children threatened by drug pushers, and those without a car to visit friends , which should provide the motivation for action and support. In the end, it will not be the statistics on crime falling, or targets met, but rather the difference felt in the neighbourhood and community itself which will be judge and jury of these reforms. It is time to focus on preventing crime and protecting the victims, and to place the weight of society behind this drive to reform the police.
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