Ellington's warning

Ellington's warning

Former top cop breaks silence, says new crime-fighting strategy won't work

Executive editor – special assignment

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!

Former Police Commissioner Owen Ellington has suggested that the constabulary has shifted emphasis from heavy focus on gangs, a strategy he cautions “will not work”.

Ellington, often described as the best police commissioner in the 162-year-old history of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), gave the warning in his first public comment on the crime situation since he left the job in October 2014.

“The police force appears to have abandoned the carefully crafted strategy driven by credible, modernised intelligence-gathering which we used to control the production of violence and criminal gangs,” Ellington said in an interview yesterday with the Jamaica Observer.

He said the police, instead of blaming gangs for the high murder rate, are pointing to domestic violence as the main cause for murders topping 1,000 already this year.

He argued that with 80 per cent of murders involving illegal guns, it was inaccurate to blame the current murder toll on domestic violence.

The former top cop recalled that under his tenure the strategy was to focus on developing strong counter-measures to disrupt the gangs, making significant arrests of key actors to weaken the gang leadership, defending the communities against the gangs by occupying the space they controlled and disrupting the financial activities gangs used to sustain themselves.

The result of that strategy was that murders dropped dramatically from just over 1,700 when he took office in 2009 to just under 700 when he demitted office in 2014.

“We are seeing the abandonment of this robust anti-gang strategy and the police are now attributing more and more violence to domestic violence, which can't be true,” he declared.

“Once illegal guns are involved, it usually means that the killers are involved in illicit importation, possession or use of guns, hiring of gunmen and turning the guns on other gunmen or their families.

“We sought to locate the gangsters, assess the risk of repeat violence, organise to arrest and disrupt the gangs and seize the guns. I don't see this carefully produced intelligence happening,” said Ellington, the 27th commissioner of police.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon