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JCF revamping recruitment, selection policy

BY MARK CUMMINGS Senior staff reporter cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 28, 2011    

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington says the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is revamping its recruitment and selection policy, in and effort to get more qualified persons enlisted in the force.

"We have been suffering in terms of the quality of individuals who have been recruited in the Jamaica Constabulary Force. None of you can deny this; none of you," Ellington told members of the JCF at their 68th annual conference at the Breezes Resort and Spa in Trelawny on Thursday.

"The new approach is a major move forward, and is perhaps the most promising policy shift which is going to ensure that we do not only get the numbers that we want, but the quality of individuals that we are aiming to attract to the organisation," added the commissioner.

Citing reasons for the revamping of the process, Ellington said up to now the recruits' education and their performance in the written test have no bearing in their final selection to enter the JCF.

"That final decision was made at the interviewing stage at the assessment centre where persons could arbitrarily turn down bright young applicants in favour of others," he explained.

That aspect of deficiency in the process, he noted, was not "picked up", until recently.

He said under the new system, points will be allocated for the applicant's academic qualification; their performance in the written test and a comprehensive antecedent investigation.

The revamped selection policy, he told the conference, is soon to be published in the JCF's weekly Force Orders.

"We are going to publish it in the Force Orders so that the entire Jamaica can see the system that we are using to recruit our members, because it is important that not just the police known, but the entire country must know the quality of individuals we want," he argued.

In recent years, the JCF has not only been moving to improve the quality of its recruits, but also to increase the size of the force.

Last year 800 persons were recruited by the JCF, but Ellington said some 1,200 persons are expected to be added this year.

Meanwhile, the commissioner said a raft of new initiatives have been implemented at the Jamaica Police Academy, in an effort to make training for recruits more meaningful.

"We have managed to cut the time the recruits spend at the academy; we have completely revised the training programme; we are adopting a what is known as a 'personal effectiveness mode', which ensures that on the first day the recruit hits the road he is far more effective at the level of constable in performing his duties," said the commissioner.

The JCF, he added, has also introduced several specialist programmes for its members.

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