DCP Blake decries police abuse of citizens

Western News

DCP Blake decries police abuse of citizens

Observer West reporter

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — A senior police officer is decrying the prevalence with which members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, during the execution of their duties, are caught on video abusing civilians.

“Too often these days you see videos circulating on social media with our officers seeming uncertain how they are carrying out their job, or they are actually abusing or assaulting members of the public without justification,” lamented Deputy Commissioner of Police (DSP) Clifford Blake.

He was speaking at the graduating ceremony for the 27 cops who participated in the pioneer elite quick response team to police in and around the resort city of Montego Bay, at the Freeport Police Station in St James last week.

DSP Blake challenged the graduates that in carrying out their duties to “exercise full rights for the respect of citizens”.

“I know that [to be mindful of human rights] was a component of your training. And I want you to bear this in mind on all occasions that whenever you have to arrest somebody, whenever you have to interact with members of the public, I am going to ask that you do so with the full respect for the human rights of that individual,” the senior cop urged.

Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson told the 27 cops that they are expected to make their mark in carrying out their duties in the newly conceptualised programme, which he hinted could be replicated in other areas.

“When you are the first doing anything it is important that you do it well, and that when you step out and you start to operate people see the value in it. That's the opportunity you have as the first people,” said Major General Anderson.

“This is clearly conceptually a good idea, the ability to respond quickly and effectively even in high traffic area makes sense. And it makes sense right across the country, not just here.”

The elite quick response team is the brainchild of Assistant Commissioner of Police Donovan Graham, the commander of Area One Police Division, which spans the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland.

The team members, largely drawn from St James, were trained, among other things, in the riding of motorcycles, which were chosen as the mode of transportation because of their ability to manoeuvre heavy traffic and challenging terrains swiftly.

Apart from respecting the human rights of civilians, DCP Blake also charged participants in the elite quick response team that they are expected to care for the motorcycles and also be prompt in their response.

“You are a quick response so I expect you to be out there, to be present and to be effective. So when somebody calls for assistance we expect you to get out there quick. But do so safely, not at the risk of yourself or the public,” DCP Blake charged.

“Secondly, care for the motorcycles. Treat them like your own.”

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