Police beggars

ISCF cops told to ask retired JCF members for badges, as merger gets messy

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator -- Crime/Court Desk

Tuesday, May 06, 2014    

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THE Police High Command has directed former members of the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) who have been transferred to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and who do not have badges to go begging for the emblem among retired police officers and active members with extra to spare.

The directive, issued in an e-mail from Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake, has shocked and angered the former ISCF members, who said this and other directives were clear indicators that adequate preparation was not made for their numbers, even though the authorities seemed in great haste to effect the merger of the forces.

"There are insufficient JCF badges for all members and the regulation numbers are being constructed. These, however, must not prevent members from wearing the uniform," said the e-mail from Blake.

"JCF members in possession of extra JCF badges must make them available to those who do not have. Members may also contact retired officers, with whom they are familiar, to get JCF badges," the deputy commissioner wrote.

Yesterday, a number of those affected reacted angrily, some making comments not fit for print. Some say the directive indicated that the Police High Command treated the former ISCF members with disregard.

"You saw where we are asked to go begging badges and other things?" one member asked in disbelief.

"That is like 'mongrelling' out the thing," said one member.

The directive for the wearing of the uniforms without badges also drew criticism from some, who said this was a breach of JCF policy.

Blake said in the e-mail sent on Friday that all former members of the ISCF must be issued with seven metres of the "red seam" for conversion of their existing "blue seam" uniform. Three metres are to be used for each trouser or skirt (two for each person) and one metre for conversion of the band around the cap.

"Priority distribution must be given to court staff and members who are working on the streets. Staff members working at cell blocks may wear denims," said Blake in the e-mail.

He said that all outstanding pieces of uniform will be supplied as early as possible.

Reaction to this directive ranged from anger to ridicule.

"Look at the rush... why... we have to be ripping out the blue out of our pants to replace it with the red?" asked one cop.

According to the high command, approximately 98 per cent of ISCF members have completed the swearing-in process to become members of the JCF. Head of the Corporate Communications Unit Deputy Superintendent Steve Brown told the Jamaica Observer that the transition was "going smoothly".

The merger process was allowed to continue after the Supreme Court last week struck out a claim brought by the ISCF Association, due to procedural error. The association, which represents rank and file members of the ISCF, had filed the claim stating that the merger wasn't being done in accordance with an act of Parliament and due to concerns that members would get hurt during the process.

Yesterday, a number of disgruntled former ISCF members told the Observer that they only accepted the conditions of the merger to remain employed, and said that morale has been affected.

"The JCF wants the public to believe that everybody is for it, but the majority is not," said an ISCF member who up to yesterday hadn't signed over to the JCF.





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