News

ISCF head dismisses reports of transfers ahead of merger

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014    

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ISLAND Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) Commandant James Golding has dismissed allegations about a series of transfers of officers following last week's announcement of a planned merger of the auxiliary unit and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

"There are not any transfers being done now as it relates to the merger," Golding told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

He, however, admitted that the ISCF/JCF merger would result in some reassignment and transfer of personnel.

"But I can say this that every effort will be made to take persons' welfare, situation into consideration before they are transferred," Golding added.

On Tuesday the ISCF Association, which represents rank and file members of the ISCF, raised concerns about reports of the relocation of officers at some units, including at Harmon Barracks, St Mary and St Elizabeth. The association contends such transfer would be illegal given the that details of the merger are yet to be worked out.

"We have received reports from some members of the ISCF that transfers are now taking place to relocate ISCF members from some units," disclosed Joel Betty, assistant chairman of the ISCF association.

He said while he could not speak on the nature of the alleged transfers, members were of the view that they are related to the planned merger.

On Tuesday, the Observer received several calls from concerned individuals claiming to be members of the ISCF.

"Rank and file members are calling on the authorities to look into these reports," one of the callers remarked.

Last week, it was announced that the Portia Simpson Miller Cabinet had approved the merger — more than a decade after the recommendation was made.

Reacting to the development, both National Security Minister Peter Bunting and Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said the merger would have a positive impact on Jamaica's crime-fighting efforts. They said the merger would, among other positives, translate to more officers manning the streets.

"We will eliminate a lot of the inefficiencies of having two command structures, separate offices, separate administration. By combining them you will release more personnel to be on the streets patrolling communities, working in crime control and crime prevention," Bunting said then.

For his part, Ellington said the merger will increase the strength of the JCF to just under its 12,000 establishment.

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