Letters to the Editor

No hope for a better JCF

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I have accepted, with no intent to revert to any previous hopeful thought, that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is a dysfunctional organisation, and one crowned with inefficiency and unprofessionalism.

I wish not to overgeneralise, as it may very well be that a curse has befallen me regarding my encounters with members of the JCF, but almost all of my encounters have been tainted with unprofessionalism, misconduct, and/or inefficiency.

During the summer of this year I had the displeasure of having a policeman's rifle pointed to my face for simply riding my motorcycle during one of my usual commutes. My documents were up to date. I did not violate any road safety protocol. And I was attired in all of my safety gear. When I advised the officer that his conduct was unprofessional I was told, in a dismissive manner, to lodge the necessary complaint, since I had an issue with the officer's actions. These officers were from the Old Harbour Police Station and at the time were conducting an active vehicle checkpoint at the intersection of P J Patterson Highway and South Street.

Shortly after this incident I was involved in a motor vehicle accident on South Camp Road in Kingston on September 25, 2018. Subsequent to the incident the other party and I reported the matter to Elletson Road Police Station. The following day I made a report to my insurance company in order to initiate a claim to repair my vehicle. At the time that the report was made at the police station I was advised that I could return at the end of three weeks in order to obtain an official police report. This is after paying the necessary fee at the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ). I paid the requisite fee and returned to Elletson Road Police Station on November 28, 2018 in order to obtain the report. My insurance company contacted me the day prior to inform me that I needed the report since the third party did not report the incident to his insurance company.

Upon my return to the police station on November 28 I was advised that the report was not ready. I was told that the 'file' that was needed to generate the report was not compiled as yet. After two months?! I was further advised by the constable with whom I spoke that he was not responsible for preparing that 'file' and that he would not pursue any other action to obtain the 'file' solely because it was not his job to prepare the 'file'. His job, according to him, was to prepare the report.

I contacted the said constable approximately one week later via the police station's contact number and was again advised that the 'file' had not yet been prepared, and that I (yes, me) should speak with the appropriate authority for the 'file' to be compiled because, again, it was not his job to prepare the 'file'.

All of my efforts to obtain the report I requested have since failed. My efforts included speaking to an inspector and deputy superintendent of police at the Elletson Road Police Station. Who else should I call? The police commissioner? The minister of national security?

I am still without the police report, and have not been advised when the report will be ready. I cannot pursue any further action with my insurance claim without this accident report.

I would have expected that a more efficient and professional methodology would be employed by the constable and his superiors. I shudder to think about the countless other Jamaicans who experience the same injustice by those who have sworn to serve and protect.

I have no hope of change for the JCF. Theirs is a failed cause.

Damion Gordon

St Catherine


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