THE Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) says there has been a strong positive response to the first phase of its recruitment drive to attract some 1,000 persons to fill the vacancies available in the Force.
Senior Superintendent Mary Royes-Henry, commandant of the Jamaica Police Academy, says the academy has received 800 applications from the rural areas and over 300 have been accepted.
"We have started the recruitment drive and it has been a success so far," she said.
Royes-Henry points out that the recruitment drive is being done in four phases until the quota has been filled. The first phase started in January and ends in March, with the recruitment of 330 applicants to be trained at Echo Village, in St Andrew. The second phase will see the recruitment of 50 special constables and 50 regular police in May. The third phase will run from September to October with the recruitment of another 330 persons and the final phase will continue until the end of the year when all the vacancies are expected to be filled.
To qualify for entry into the force, applicants must be Jamaican citizens; be between the ages of 18 and 40 years; possess at least three General Cambridge Examination (GCE) subjects, including English at (Grades A, B or C) or three Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) subjects at (Grades 1, 2 or 3); weigh 61.4 - 82 Kilogrammes (135-189 pounds) for males and 57-73 kilogrammes (125-180 pounds) for females; male applicants must be at least 172 centimetres tall and females 167 centimetres.
However, the commissioner of police may waive the rule governing height for applicants who have special qualifications or skills in counselling, psychology, a foreign language among others.
Applicants should not have been convicted of a felony or committed any driving offence and must be of good moral character.
Senior Superintendent Royes-Henry says that the JCF is hoping to attract persons who understand the role and function of a police officer. "It means, therefore, that the persons we are getting must be persons who have interpersonal skills, they must be able to deal with people, be of good moral character, assertive, courteous, flexible, have that level of tolerance to deal with stress because this is a very stressful job," she stated.
"They must be composed, have independence of thought and not easily swayed by persons, love to work hard and long hours and love to deal with people. They must have integrity."
The JCF commandant says the Force is conducting in-depth interviews to ensure that the right persons are recruited adding that, "we look at the whole person, the competency, the motivational level of the individual, the physical impact, their environmental awareness and their community involvement".
"It is not just a matter of numbers, it is a matter that when you come in we want to be sure that we are getting the right person. We want to ensure that the persons who we get are persons who are justified in becoming members of the Force," she said.
Successful applicants are exposed to eight months of intense training. Deputy Superintendent Mervin McNab, who is in charge of basic training, says that new recruits are required to complete six modules as part of the training exercise.
"This is an orientation period in which we expose the new applicants to the facilities of the Force and all the various entities of the Force," he said.
New recruits are also exposed to psychology, sociology, police ethics, debating theory, public speaking and human rights and law courses. They are also trained in the use of firearms.
McNab said that after the examinations and evaluations, a passing-out ceremony is held and trainees are posted at various police divisions, where they are exposed to on-the-job training, such as work at the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), traffic department and entries in the diaries for another six months.
Five weeks after the two-year period of training, the recruits are brought back in for in-service training where they are exposed to the final aspects of the laws, human rights and other areas of policing.
Senior superintendent Royes-Henry said opportunities in the JCF are also available for recruits to pursue career opportunities in the areas of telecommunications, forensic science, criminal investigation, computer technology, photography, community relations, fingerprint, organised crime and the band (music) division.
The Force is also recruiting university graduates through its Graduate Entry Programme, which started in 1996. Inspector Merrick Watson, administrative assistant to the acting commissioner of police (ACP), said the programme is aimed at attracting persons with a certain level of skills that will go a far way in advancing the development of the JCF.
Applicants who are interested will have to possess a first degree in the areas of counselling, forensic science, education, sociology, psychology, computer science, accounting and finance.
"I have been in the Force for over 33 years and if I should go back to get another career, it would be in the Jamaica Constabulary Force," said Senior Superintendent Royes-Henry, encouraging people to apply.
Persons wishing to apply can visit Area One at the Counselling Centre at 39 Cornwall Street in Falmouth, Trelawny on February 25 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm; the United Church Hall on Church Street in Lucea, Hanover on March 1 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and the Anglican Church Hall at Great Georges Street in Sav-La-Mar in Westmoreland on March 4 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Persons from St Ann, St Mary and Portland can go to Area Two at the recruiting centre in Annotto Bay at the divisional headquarters; while those in Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth are asked to visit the police divisional headquarters in Mandeville.
For Area Five, applicants from St Catherine South can visit in recruiting centre at the Catholic Church Hall in Linstead on February 22 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, and in St Thomas the Anglican Church Hall at Morant Bay on February 28 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
In Area Four persons can go to the National Recruitment Centre at 12 Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston, Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.