No care for cops

No care for cops

Water woes force policemen, women to bathe in pans at Kingston Central Police Station

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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FEMALE cops based at the headquarters of the Kingston Central Police Division are grateful for some of their male counterparts who take pans with water into the bathrooms in the barracks to allow them to get a bath before going on duty each day.

Jamaica Observer sources say there has been no water at the downtown Kingston divisional headquarters for more than three months, forcing cops to take their baths in pans.

“The toilets them 'bung up' and women and men have to bathe in pans,” said one Observer source.

“Everybody knows that this is a problem and there has been no resolution. It appears to be getting worse because I saw someone filing pans to flush the toilets in the superintendent's office last week,” added the source.

According to another source the police have repeatedly complained about the water woes, which have left persons begging for a transfer from the division.

Yesterday Detective Sergeant Patrae Rowe, chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, told the Observer that he was aware of the water woes at the Kingston Central station and that his organisation has been trying to have it addressed.

“We have spoken to the relevant authorities to address the issue. We were assured that the issue was being given priority attention but our concern is that there has been a delay in resolving the issue,” said Rowe.

“We hope that the issue will be resolved soon because an operation cannot function without proper running water,” added Rowe.

He said the federation is disappointed that issues such as these, which impact the welfare of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), are not addressed speedily.

“There is generally too much reluctance to address the issues which frustrate anything that is to be given to the police. Just basic issues that the police should benefit from are like pulling teeth, and it is utterly frustrating. An issue like water at a police facility [is not one somebody] should be calling and asking questions about it. It should be an automatic function.

“Basic needs such as water should not be an issue, particularly at this time when we are facing a pandemic and basic sanitisation such as proper hand washing are needed. It is absolutely ridiculous,” declared Rowe.

Efforts to get an official response from the police high command were unsuccessful yesterday but a source close to the leadership of the JCF told the Observer that there have been attempts to solve the water woes at the downtown, Kingston-based facility.

“We sourced water tanks and we had a plumber go in and look at the issue, but he indicated that there was a major problem moving the water upstairs into the barracks. It is now an issue which needs to go through the Government's procurement process, and you well know how long that takes.

“We are trying to address the issue as quickly as it can move through the procurement process,” said the Observer's contact.

In the meantime, an official at the Ministry of National Security, who refused to be quoted because he was not authorised to speak, claimed that water tanks had been installed at the East Queen Street-based facility, which should have addressed the problem.

He said the ministry has been spending millions of dollars to improve police stations across the island and added that the Kingston Central Police Station will be given attention as soon as the procurement process is completed.

The security ministry has reported that a record 103 of 186 police stations have been improved, upgraded, refurbished, or reconstructed over the last four years.


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