Will the JCF hierarchy please speak up?

Will the JCF hierarchy please speak up?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I am writing regarding a troubling trend I have noticed. This is regarding members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force using their personal cellphones to videotape citizens and post the footage on social media.

Over the past year I have seen about three such videos on social media and in all of these videos some of the men, out of anger and objection to being videotaped, identified themselves as being gay.

Everyone in Jamaica is aware of how homophobic and vitriolic some members of the Jamaican society can be towards those they perceive to be gay. In the most recent video being circulated on social media, one of the men begged the policeman not to videotape him and went as far as stating where he was from as a reason why he should not be videotaped. However, his earnest plea was ignored by the policeman.
These police officers have sworn to 'Serve, Protect and Reassure' all Jamaicans, yet they continue to endanger the lives of some through this reckless practice.

As someone who grew up in Jamaica, I know first hand the potential dangers and risk factors involved in exposing someone based on their sexual identity. These risks sometimes extend to even their family members. Being a creature of the law, our police officers need to be more sensitive to these issues and act more professionally when discharging their duties.

In light of these incidents, I am wondering whether or not the hierarchy of the Jamaica Constabulary Force will allow their members to continue this unprofessional practice with impunity. It cannot be acceptable practice for law enforcement to use their personal cellphones to videotape citizens during routine traffic stops and then post it on social media. The police high command needs to go on record articulating their policy position on this matter. This action will indeed educate citizens and hopefully deter police officers from participating in this unethical practice.

Ralston Chamberlain
Ontario, Canada

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