JCF urges citizens not to interfere in arrests

Monday, April 23, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The High Command of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is raising concern about what it says is the frequency with which members of the public continue to interfere in police operations, especially when an arrest is being made in a public space.

According to the JCF, there have been numerous incidents in recent times where uniformed police officers, attempting to make an arrest, not only face resistance from the offender but also members of the public.

It further noted that several cases have resulted in officers being assaulted with some of the incidents captured on video and shared on social media.

The statement from the police force follows the circulation of a video last week showing a policeman pulling a man, by the front of his T-shirt, through a rowdy crowd. Members of the crowd could be heard spewing verbal assaults at the officer.

At least on two occasions the man attempted to remove the officer's hand and just outside the police station, holding on to a metal rail and refusing to be pulled further by the officer.

This was when he was kicked and punched by the lawman before it seemingly erupted into a fight.

As a result, the High Command said it is reminding citizens that they have a responsibility to comply with the instructions of the police when they are being arrested.

“Failing which, the arresting officer, may use whatever proportionate force necessary, to safely effect the arrest,” said the police.

“The High Command is making it clear that individuals, who interfere with a police officer in the lawful execution of his/her duties, will be liable to prosecution,” the JCF reminded in its statement.

The High Command also urged citizens to desist from crowding the police, interfering in the process and trying to free the accused person.

This not only obstructs the police but also exposes the officers and the accused person(s) to increased risks, it warned.

There are numerous avenues for redress if the suspect/offender feels that police has wronged him/her, the JCF said, pointing to the Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Commission of Investigations, two agencies that conduct investigations into alleged cases of abuse of power by police officers.

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