LESS than two months after an apparent blunder claimed the life of a trainee cop at the Police Academy, quick action by prisoners averted possible loss of more police lives yesterday, this time at the Mobile Reserve in Kingston.
The police top brass has launched an investigation into how a detainee who was apprehended by the police and placed in custody was able to pull a firearm on members of a police team while in lockup.
Police sources said the man was able to evade checks from police personnel and was put in a holding area with the firearm.
"The information is that a police team carried out an operation in the St Andrew South Police Division where several persons were held and brought in for questioning," the police source told the Jamaica Observer.
Following the operation, the men were placed into the holding area, called 'the cage', for further processing. What transpired a few minutes later is still a mystery.
"The man, while in custody, pulled a firearm and threatened members of the police team present. This sent several persons who were on duty scampering for cover," another police source recounted.
But other detainees in the holding area intervened, quickly overpowered the gunman and brought the situation under control. The illegal weapon was then handed over to the police.
"The situation was brought under control but this has brought into focus another breach in procedure. If guidelines were followed this would not have happened. Several persons could have lost their lives in the incident," said one angry cop.
Yesterday, a senior member of the Mobile Reserve confirmed the report and disclosed that the incident was a major breach. An investigation has since been launched.
Two weeks ago, a tactical training exercise at the Jamaica Police Academy in Twickenham Park, St Catherine, went terribly wrong, resulting in the shooting death of a constable and injury to five others. Police report that a weapon that was being used in the training was loaded with live bullets instead of blank cartridges.
The police officers were all assigned to the Mobile Reserve.
Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington, who described the deadly incident as "most regrettable", has directed that an internal investigation be conducted by the Inspectorate of the constabulary and that all weapons training at the academy be temporarily suspended.