Letters to the Editor

Lost all hope in the police force

Friday, November 15, 2019

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Dear Editor,

On Saturday, November 9, 2019 an employee of mine was robbed on Lady Musgrave Road after leaving work. These hoodlums have the country in a vice-grip-like chokehold. So deadly is their grip that crime, lawlessness, and disrespect for human life and property have not only stagnated any hope of growth, they have asphyxiated it.

This I have come to terms with. My horror in the incident, however, was the manner in which I was mistreated by those who should be our straw to which we can cling — the police.

After the incident in question, the employee notified me, and within a few minutes my wife and I were at the security post my employee had run to as a haven. The police were already notified of the robbery and we were awaiting their arrival.

After some time, I made a call to the New Kingston Police Post to ascertain whether it would be easier for me to bring her there to give her statement. I was informed that a unit had already been dispatched and should be on the scene in short order. Within two minutes of hanging up I saw a police service vehicle driving past. Thinking it was the response team, I signalled to them and they stopped at the entrance to the complex we were in. What unfolded thereafter was totally appalling and terrifying.

The officer in the vehicle called over the victim of the robbery and started questioning her. Not only was this being done in the middle of the road, but also in view of the dimly lit area in where she had just been robbed. I suggested that they pull over into the complex, which had more than sufficient space as well as afforded some privacy. Little did I know that such an innocent gesture could be akin to any of the most heinous crimes.

The officer proceeded to verbally assault me. He asked me why I don't go and tell the thieves what to do and stop telling him how to do his job. I was stunned and tried explaining that I meant no offence. He however was having none of it, and looked rather angry and agitated. He even asked me if I knew who he was. He further told his subordinate to drive away as he didnt have time to waste.

The officer became angrier, even as his colleague tried to calm him down. My wife had to pull me away from the scene, as, even though I had remained very calm and respectful, the unfolding events were reminiscent of all those killings in America out of which the “Black Lives Matter” campaign was born.

I asked the officer his name and after a period of hesitation he identified himself as a superintendent and proceeded to inform me that there was no one I could report him to.

Shortly after, another service vehicle came on the scene. The driver of the vehicle with the now-irate superintendent — a constable — came out the vehicle and approached where I was standing. I asked if this was how police and, more so, senior officers treat the people they're supposed to serve. Not surprisingly, his response was that he didn't hear anything. The other two officers in the other service vehicle said nothing.

Everyone at the Half-Way-Tree Police Station that night was tight-lipped. The superintendent, who was the officer in charge that night, was present and told my employee that nothing would come of it and he would love to see what we could do.

After such an encounter, I have lost all hope in the Jamaica Constabulary Force. I now question the many accounts of the police that differ from the “small man's” resulting in cries of police abuse and brutality.

Besides the above, I am troubled by a few other things:

1. What is the mental health status of the security personnel who are out there on the road encountering civilians daily? There is no doubt in my mind that they are stressed. Provisions must be made for our lawmen to appropriately de-stress. Cognitive behavioural therapy must be mandatory for them.

2. What avenues are available for redress, especially with concerns related to senior officers?

3. What strategies are being looked at by the commissioner to reduce the “squaddy” mentality of covering up for each other? Besides that, what is put in place to protect the subordinates in the event they report their seniors? This is how corruption breeds in the system.

Traumatised citizen

gusty_mol@yahoo.com


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