Over the past months, our police have come under pressure for their use of force in dealing with civilians. It's of note that this has happened after many have been fatally shot under questionable circumstances. After much public outcry, it has caused the commissioner of police, Owen Ellington, to announce a review of the JCF's use of force policy. However, it appears that much more needs to be done as cases of police fatal killings are still high.
It is sad to watch the tears flow from family members after they lose loved ones, and it is costly to all involved. Even sadder is the fact that a life lost can never be regained. Additionally, many times, the circumstances that lead to these killings are uncalled for and unnecessary, for example, the recent killing of a taxi operator in St Ann's Bay.
I would like to make a suggestion to Mr Ellington and his team. I suggest that alongside the present training given to our officers, they be trained also to disarm a suspect and/or to shoot to injure instead of to kill. The approach to law enforcement cannot be the same in all cases in that the handling of a suspect with a knife should not to be the same as one with a gun. The amount of force used in any situation should be equivalent to the impending danger.
Our officers should be aware that while the job is strenuous and dangerous at times, the preservation of life should always be the main objective.
Claremont PO, St Ann