KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Independent Commission of Investigations’ (INDECOM) statistics for 2012 have revealed a four percent increase in police killings during the year which ended Monday.
INDECOM said that nine more people lost their lives at the hands of members of Jamaica Constabulary Force (JC) in 2012 than in 2011.
“This figure represents a four per cent increase in fatalities when compared with the same period in 2011. Some 219 persons lost their lives in 2012 and 210 persons in the previous year (2011),” a release from the agency said.
According to INDECOM’s records, this year’s deaths emanated from 182 incidents, all involving members of the JCF, and only one involving a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
The month with the highest number of fatalities was March, in which the Commission recorded 35 fatalities, 10 more than the 25 for the corresponding period of 2011.
October had the second highest, with 24 fatalities, representing a 50 per cent increase for the corresponding period when 12 fatalities were recorded. The third highest was in February when some 20 fatalities were recorded, two more than the previous year which recorded 18. Ten fatalities were recorded in May, which represents the lowest figure for any month last year.
Commissioner of INDECOM, Terrence Williams, said in the last 15 years Jamaica has been averaging 200 security force-related fatalities annually. The Commission, he said, believes it is important to ascertain whether the circumstances in which these lives were taken were justified.
“The Commission recognises this is a major issue for human rights in Jamaica. The consistently high number speaks to how important it is for the community at large to buy into policing. Further, the numbers also suggests something as it relates to the dangerous conditions under which the members of the security forces work,” Williams said.
INDECOM was established following numerous public complaints against the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) about the JCF investigating wrongdoings committed by the security forces. The public remained adamant that even if the BSI did impartial and creditable investigations, they would remain suspicious, as the police should not be investigating the police.