Major General Anderson on a mission

Police commissioner vows to deliver a force that Jamaicans can be proud of

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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Just over one year into his job as the island's top cop, Major General Antony Anderson has declared that he is on a mission to provide Jamaica with a police force that can make the island proud.

In his first major media briefing since taking command of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in March 2018, the former head of the Jamaica Defence Force detailed the steps he has taken so far to modernise and clean up the force.

“I will certainly do the best that I can to move this force to where it needs to be, so that the public can repose full trust and confidence in it,” said Anderson as he thanked the men and women under his command who have been giving of their best, and warned that rogue cops that they need to “turn over a new leaf or be prepared to leave the force”.

According to Anderson, in his first year he has found that the JCF has members of significant talent and ability, with good investigative techniques but there is a challenge to bridge the trust deficit with the public.

Anderson said his first move on being appointed police commissioner was seeking to familiarise himself with the organisation and to get a clear understanding of what the challenges were from the inside.

“The first [thing] we had to do was to deal with high violence, an extremely high murder rate, from the year before 2017. There were 1,600 plus murders in that year. So we first thing we had to do was to get that murder rate under control and get it down.

“In March when I got in, that (murder) rate was five per cent above what it was in 2017. At the end of the year it was 23 per cent below what it was in 2017,” declared Anderson.

He said his second task was to deal with the formation of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch.

“That was to prepare us to deal with the concerns that we knew would arise because of the roadworks and the things we knew were going to happen in September with back to school,” said Anderson.

“We acted very rapidly to put this branch together and it speaks highly of the officers who were involved in that process to put that branch together in a matter of months,” added Anderson.

According to the commissioner, his third task was to improve the level and quality of investigations carried out by the JCF.

Anderson said he worked with the three top investigators in the JCF to get several cases solved so that they could go to trial.

“I also emphasised to the CIB (Criminal Investigations Branch) that there needed to be more use of anti-gang legislation and more use of forensics and science to solve cases,” said Anderson.

He argued that this led to the police solving several cases and arresting numerous gangsters , who are now before the courts.

For the fourth quarter Anderson said he focused on professional standards and the Inspectorate inside the JCF.

That included looking at how the JCF deals with matters of corruption in the force when they arise, and the service they provide to members of the public.

“That lays out, almost in four quarters, what I have been doing and how I apportioned the year in terms of emphasis … and what I have been doing. Now the decision on whether that is what people's expectations were, that is for the public to decide,” declared Anderson.


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