Letters to the Editor

We need more trust between police and people

Friday, September 07, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

I refer to your editorial of September 6, 2012 , "Behind the killing of a pregnant woman". I was born in Jamaica, left as a youth and went to live in England. I was abused by racists, but I was never abused by the police. Once there was an incident, and a cop said to me: "Sir, I want you to accompany me to the police station." I replied, "I ain't going nowhere." He insisted that I should accompany him, so I did. No violence or anything like that was used.

Mind you, I know that things have changed a great deal in the UK, and cops are no longer Boy Scout leaders. But the reason for this story is this: British cops have a different style of training from our police, who seem to think that they are an occupying force, and that they have to keep the natives at bay. This is similar to what I observed when I lived in Los Angeles, California. Some cops there treated people of colour, especially black males, as criminals and enemies.

In Jamaica, the cops often address a fully grown man or woman as "Bwoy" or "Gal". So this type of hostile mindset, actually instilled in them by the ex-colonial power, still seems to me a part of the mentality of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Yes, we Jamaicans tend to be disorderly and undisciplined, which is partly due to slavery and our colonial history of rebellion, but the mutual distrust, suspicion and hostility that have developed between regular citizens and the police are a historical problem. However, Jamaica is an independent country now for 50 years, and it is past time that more trust be engendered between the police and the populace.

Sam Woods

Florida, USA






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