Now is the time for all to support a good, professional JCF

Now is the time for all to support a good, professional JCF

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

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This newspaper has always maintained that the country should not allow a few miscreants to dictate how we live. Nor should we cower in the face of the scum who prefer to unleash murder and mayhem, instead of contributing to the well-being of our people and country.

That is why we are at one with Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson's declaration that the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will not be cowed by criminals following the killing of two of from among them — Constable Decardo Hylton and Detective Corporal Dane Biggs in Horizon Park, St Catherine — two Fridays ago.

Readers will recall that both men were shot dead — and two of their colleagues shot and seriously injured — during an operation to apprehend gunmen. Most Jamaicans were outraged by the killings.

This is why when the police reported that the main suspect in that gunfight — 39-year-old Damion Hamilton — was tracked to Cooreville Gardens, St Andrew, were he was shot dead in another gun battle in which two other policemen were injured, the general reaction was one of gratification.

On Monday, Commissioner Anderson, while observing a day of mourning for the 196 members of the JCF who have been murdered in the line of duty over the last 20 years, assured the country that the police would not resile from their sworn duty to serve and protect the people of this country.

“These are a set of people who are so committed; that even if on a normal day they might not be that enthused about something, whenever the day comes when Jamaica needs them, they will step up and do what they have to do,” General Anderson said of the men and women under his command.

We don't doubt him. In fact, the police have done just that, taking on some of the most dangerous criminals in the country at great personal risk. Indeed, we recall that it was just 10 years ago that the police, in combination with the members of the Jamaica Defence Force, bravely beat back a challenge by gunmen in West Kingston and eventually apprehended area strongman Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

In that brazen attack, the police and soldiers dismantled what had grown to become a state within the Jamaican State and shattered the misguided belief of some people who live in that community that they were above the law.

But even as we recall that act of bravery and patriotism, we do not, for one minute, discount the fact that there still exists a need for reform of the police force. As we have stated before in this space, any serious reform will not be complete without casualties.

There are a number of individuals in the JCF who the organisation must retire in the public interest and for the good of the police force. Some of those 'bad apples', we expect, will not go willingly. But the Government and the police hierarchy should not cower in the face of any resistance. It is a tough decision to make, but one that is necessary if the police force is to gain greater public trust.

The JCF, we know, has many professional, competent, and decent people in its ranks. They should not allow the actions of the bad few to tarnish the image of the organisation.

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