News

Former ‘specials’ have to use own money to replace blue seams

Commish says ‘specials’ to get back money used to pay for red seams

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator — Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 12, 2014    

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FORMER members of the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), who have been sworn in as members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), have to replace the blue seams on their uniforms and hats with red ones out of their own pockets, a source has told the Jamaica Observer.

The constabulary started the swearing-in of former ISCF members in the JCF two Fridays ago, immediately after the Supreme Court struck out a motion by the ISCF Association challenging the merger on the ground that it wasn't being done in accordance with an Act

of Parliament.

A source said the former ISCF members were subsequently informed by the Police High Command, via e-mail, that they would need to replace the blue seam on their uniforms and hats with the red of the JCF.

However, the former 'specials' have to be digging into their own pockets to have the uniform adjustments done, as they were told, the source said, that it would not be until the end of May that they would receive $1,500 to make the necessary uniform adjustments. Those who have not yet made the adjustments to their uniforms have resorted to wearing plain clothes.

Disgruntled former ISCF members told the Observer that the merger was rushed, and not properly thought-out, as they should not be paying out of their pockets to replace to adjust their uniforms. The merger, they said, should have been done in phases to ensure all members were provided with the necessary tools to perform their duties.

"A lot of people never had that in their budget," said one constable about the money former ISCF members had to find to replace the seams in their uniform pants.

One former ISCF member, meanwhile, told the Observer that it costs $600 to change the seam in one pair of pants alone.

Some members who have been sworn in to the JCF were still up to last week wearing their old uniforms with the blue seams. This, some of the former ISCF members said, reflected the shoddy way Government was going about the merger of the forces that was announced in February after years of talk.

Commenting on the concerns, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said that the members who have replaced the blue seams from their pockets will be reimbursed with a one-off payment of between $1,500 -- $1,700 at the end of this month.

Concerning those who are complaining about the rough transition, the commissioner said "those are the ones who do not want to follow the rules" of the JCF.

"It's time we stop wasting time talking about this," he told the Observer.

The Observer reported last week that JCF members with extra badges were asked to give them to the former special constables. The Police High Command also told the newcomers to ask retired JCF members for badges.

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