Editorial

Les Green hasn't said anything we don't already know

Thursday, February 07, 2013    

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IT'S interesting to see how some people are getting their knickers in a twist over the criticisms of our police force by ex-Assistant Commissioner Les Green.

Mr Green, a Britisher who came from Scotland Yard, spent eight years here trying to improve the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). His feedback, we believe, is very important, even if we'd prefer that he didn't have to do it by means of a newspaper interview in England.

What, we suggest, is more important than worrying about what he said overseas, is the text of what he said. And because we all know what obtains in the JCF, no one is going to contradict Mr Green. The really critical question is, what are we going to do about it, other than beat up on the messenger, which we are quite good at?

In his interview with the Mirror on Sunday newspaper, Mr Green criticised the unprofessionalism of some members of the constabulary, whom he suggested would easily ignore their work as long as a pretty woman and a drink were in sight.

While we understand the attraction to a pretty woman, we expect that policemen would carry out their duties, for which they are being paid, in the urgency of our crime-infested country demands. As for drinking on the job, read our lips: Instant dismissal!

Mr Green also pointed out that when he first came here, the forensic capability of our police force was "very poor and ineffective", noting that in Jamaica "it still takes up to two years to get DNA results, unlike in the UK, where you can get them in two days".

"In Jamaica, there is nothing like the sense of urgency I had in the UK, where I would send someone out to take a statement and they would do it immediately. Here I could send someone out for weeks on end and eventually they would come back with a statement," he added.

This statement ought to give everyone who loves and lives in this country pause. Forensics is leading the way forward in all modern police forces. We, in Jamaica, perhaps more than most, need to have heightened forensic capability. If for no other reason than the fact that witnesses to crime, especially murder, are so afraid to come forward.

We also note that a former Jamaican cop, Retired Senior Superintendent Reneto Adams has joned forces with Mr Green. In his usually controversial style, Mr Adams tells us that the culture of the JCF: "...has not changed since it was formed in 1867. It was formed to protect the plantocracy, the elite, the landed gentry from the small man, and it still remains that way. There are those in powerful positions who don't want that to change, and that is why things don't move faster. They are forcing square pegs into round holes."

This newspaper is very aware that the present commisioner of police, Mr Owen Ellington, is trying his best under difficult circumstances. We urge all Jamaicans to give him their support. Cleaning up the JCF and our country is not a job for Mr Ellington alone.

And let the observations of Mr Green not be the usual nine-day wonder, but a catalyst to stir a new resolve in us to create a police force that befits the understated greatness of our Jamaican nation.

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