Gov't moving to have special vehicles built for J'can police

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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MINISTER of National Security Horace Chang yesterday reiterated that, going forward, the Government has no intention of purchasing any more used motor vehicles for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The minister restated an issue which he had raised during his sectoral debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, that the ministry would be moving, ultimately, towards purchasing vehicles custom-built for the police.

“I had indicated clearly that, on coming into Government we had acquired a large block of pre-owned cars. But that was because it was the quickest way to get some mobility into the police force at that stage... It was fairly easy to get a block of pre-owned vehicles,” Dr Chang told a post-sectoral debate briefing at his ministry in Kingston, yesterday.

However, he said that things have changed this year, with a $1.1-billion allocation in the budget for motor vehicle acquisition.

“This year we have some money to spend... and therefore we will be purchasing new vehicles, which can be painted as police vehicles,” he told the briefing.

He said that the aim is to eventually purchase only vehicles which are custom-built for use by the police, and which assist them in capturing criminals trying to escape in traffic, for example.

“Ultimately, that is where we want to go,” he told the briefing.

Dr Chang told the House of Representatives that his ministry wanted to continue to improve the JCF's mobility, with the acquisition of the specialised vehicles.

“We are examining a more efficient mechanism to enhance the police fleet and I have been in discussions with the commissioner of police who will be exploring the idea of procuring the custom built police vehicles, not just vehicles marked 'police', [but vehicles] which are in line with 21st century policing,” he told the House Tuesday.

Dr Chang also reiterated, yesterday, what he described as the “three overarching pillars” that will underpin the programmes being undertaken, under his stewardship, to fight crime and restore public order and safety.

He listed them as: operational strategies and institutional changes; policy enhancement; and legislative amendments to improve the regulatory frameworks which are either inadequate, non-existent or outdated.

He said that the key policy areas that will be engaged, to bring meaningful and sustainable change to the security landscape, would be: public order and law enforcement; strong anti-gang strategies; anti-corruption strategies; targeted social intervention initiatives in volatile communities; and transformation of the JCF into a modern police service.

He said that his ministry would provide support to the JCF and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to bring the full force of the law against “violence producers” within the society.

“With the establishment of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), as an independent body, we will not only focus on the man in the street, but we will have the capacity to pursue and bring to justice the masterminds behind institutional corruption and organised crime,” he said.

“This is indeed our Jamaica. I intend to see a Jamaica that is marked by peace and order, the first choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” he said.

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