'Informer fi dead' culture hindering police investigations, says DCP

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'Informer fi dead' culture hindering police investigations, says DCP

Senior staff reporter

Friday, January 24, 2020

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DEPUTY Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey says that the culture of “informer fi dead”, which persists in some Jamaican communities, has significantly restricted the police's investigative capacity.

DCP Bailey, who was responding to questions from members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on Wednesday, said that although there is more room for improvement in the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) intelligence system, the inability to charge some suspects is primarily due to a lack of evidence from witnesses.

“There is room for improvement in our intelligence [system], but I think that it is the culture which exists in Jamaica. As you rightly said, in many instances, we know who are the perpetrators, and while we rely on scientific evidence, scientific evidence can only take us [so far] and no more,” Bailey admitted.

“I think that, as a nation, we have to have a conversation for individuals to understand that they have a responsibility as well, to support law enforcement and ensure that the rule of law is maintained. The culture of 'informer fi dead' is significantly impacting on our investigative capacity and capability,” he added.

The DCP was responding to a question from Opposition Member of Parliament Dwight Vaz (Central Westmoreland) about the capacity of the JCF's intelligence system to impact the trials of criminals without relying on witnesses.

“We have a witness protection programme that is available... [but] a lot of people are not willing to accept the offer, and one can understand because you have to change a number of things. But, it is something that we have to encourage because of the level of violence which exists in the society,” Bailey noted.

“So you are correct, in many instances we know, and many of those people are incarcerated. We know that they are involved and we can say what crimes they are involved in, but until the witnesses are willing to come forward... And we talk about the trust factor, which is real, but there are many avenues that are available through which persons can tell the security forces what has happened without any breach of trust,” he pointed out.

Bailey said that, in terms of the police's intelligence capabilities, not everything can be disclosed, but in terms of threats to lives, the police have saved in excess of 400 people every year, on average, because of their intelligence mechanism that is in place.

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