More civilians are being arrested for breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act, the police are reporting.
According to Assistant Commissioner Selvin Haye, head of the constabulary's Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), 47 civilians have been arrested since the start of the year for corruption in comparison to 27 last year. The figure represents a 57.4 per cent increase.
"A large number of persons are still involved in corruption and are trying to corrupt members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force," he said, appealing for this to end.
Haye was addressing journalists during a press conference at the Police Officers Club in Kingston last week.
"Members of the public, stop trying to corrupt our members. I am calling on the society to assist us in clearing up corruption. Don't add to the problem by trying to corrupt our members, please," Haye pleaded.
Haye's deputy, Superintendent Gloria Davis-Simpson, said corruption was embedded in the Jamaican psyche and if there was not a paradigm shift, the efforts of the ACB could be seriously scuttled.
"If there is no change in the culture, then the problem of corruption will persist," Davis-Simpson said.
Haye, who took over the reins of the ACB from Assistant Commissioner Justin Felice in August, said the constabulary had formulated a new Anti-Corruption Strategy to last until 2015.
He said cops were more confident about collaring people who attempt to bribe them.
"Our members are also becoming more confident in taking action on their own. Our members are now taking on the situation in a more robust manner," he said.
Since January 1, a total of 54 cops have been arrested on suspicion of corruption, while 39 of that number have been charged. Police report that one gazetted officer (ranks between inspector and commissioner), four sergeants, 15 corporals, and 26 constables from the JCF and the Island Special Constabulary Force have been nabbed by the ACB dragnet.
Haye said the ACB has noticed a worrying rise in police personnel participating in extortion. Since the start of the year, seven cops have been collared on suspicion of extortion.
"We are seeing less incidents of bribery on the street. We are seeing an increased number of our members being arrested for extortion," he said.
The branch has also been integral in setting up training in polygraph testing and six cops have recently attended training courses in Canada, which has been contributing to the constabulary's capacity-building and in-house training.
However, Haye said the police would not rest on its laurels as there was a lot more work to be done to stamp out the scourge of corruption.
"We are still seeing signs that corruption is still here, we still have more work to do. There are still members who believe they can outsmart the good guys," he said.
Today, the world celebrates the United Nations-sanctioned World Anti-Corruption Day under the theme 'Act Against Corruption Today.'