Editorial

We ignore DCP Clifford Blake at our certain peril

Friday, June 23, 2017

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We certainly hope that the call by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Clifford Blake for the social agencies of the state to “sustain peace” through development in communities, especially after operations by the police, is reverberating throughout the corridors of power in Jamaica.

Making the contribution from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament which is reviewing the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures), DCP Blake on Wednesday took the bull by the horn and lay the cards on the table.

He cited the example of Barrett Town in St James as an example from which to learn a valuable lesson. He noted that a recent intervention by the police had led to a curbing of crime in the area, after which projects by a number of state agencies were then identified to assist in developing a momentum to create peace.

“The challenge and the difficulties that we encountered are that several of the agencies, at different times, were not available to participate in the community and eventually what happened is that the agreed projects such as repair of roads, repair of the community centre, skills centre (etc) have not materialised, and what we are finding out is that the gangs are actually rebuilding,” he said.

So, here was an opportunity for all these stakeholders to go into the community and do the type of community development that would lead to long-lasting peace…but the projects are just not being delivered.

Given our serious crime problem this is a stunning indictment not only on the social agencies involved, but also on our politicians from both sides of the House over the years.

We have often said on these pages that the police, with or without all their faults, cannot solve crime on their own and that a multi-dimensional, multi-agency approach is necessary. There is no shortage of talk or ideas for solutions yet crime is still as rampant as ever.

We are therefore humbly suggesting that it should be mandatory that after the police do their work, that the state agencies move in quickly, start the interaction with residents and get some impactful projects going with the involvement of the people.

It is fully understood that not every community problem can be fixed all at once, but we are convinced that much more can be done. State agency intervention that is meaningful and coordinated, which has the support of the people, can lead to hope and a life away from a life of crime. It will, of course, take time but it will be a start along the long road of effectively dealing with the scourge of crime.

We applaud DCP Blake for looking his direct employers straight in the eye and not regurgitating the standard fare of the police, speaking truth to power, according to the popular phrase. Indeed, we had become so accustomed to this docile approach by the police that his forthright approach is refreshing and very welcomed.

If we as a country choose to ignore this clarion call by DCP Blake, we do so at great peril. Surely, by now, we understand that the machinations of someone's uncle cannot solve crime.

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