McBean firm on better salaries, overtime pay for police

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT
Staff reporter
hibbertk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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CORPORAL Arlene McBean, the first woman chairperson of the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF), has outlined her mandate — the first order of business being salary negotiations of rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

“It has been so drawn out. It has fatigued the entire rank and file population. The offers from the Government have been very insulting overtime, and I believe that we need to bring that to some closure and it's time now for the Government to value those who stand as a buffer between criminals and the decent citizens of Jamaica,” McBean said during a round table interview at the Jamaica Observer Press Club on Thursday. “It is a now at a stage where we are not pleased; we believe that it is a hopscotch game that is being played with the rank and file welfare. That hopscotch must be stopped and it must be taken as a real situation where rank and file continue to suffer out there, unable to find the basic amenities for themselves and their families.”

Further, McBean said the lingering issue of the 40-hour work week for rank and file members of the JCF (constable to inspector) needs to be seen as priority.

“Rank and file really suffers. You have a member out there working 18 hours and 14 hours [a day]. We signed off 2008- 2010 on a 40-hour work week and to date whilst it is now thrown in the lap of the JCF and the Ministry of National Security (MNS), to date nothing has been in place. So that overtime claimable system that we have have been asking for is absent, so we can't claim for overtime like other ministries. Our police officers sometimes are unable to eat, they are not given proper food whilst out there on duty sometimes,” she said, adding that this has led to development of lifestyle illnesses in many rank and file members of the constabulary.

As a result, she stated that it is no surprise that these members will quickly go and serve other jurisdictions that offer salary packages to rank and file members akin to what a Jamaican superintendent or senior superintendent receives.

Next on McBean's agenda is decentralising the function of the Federation and an audit on what she describes as “the deplorable conditions of police stations”.

“We (JPF) are located in Kingston, so you have Area 1 which covers St James, Westmoreland, Trelawny and Hanover; Area 2 — St Ann, Portland, St Mary; Area 3 — St Elizabeth, Clarendon and Manchester. We want to have our area offices there. The Area 4 and 5 is served by us. Based on how this salary negotiation is going and we see our members having to leave and come into Kingston where they pay the toll, put gas in vehicle but don't have monies for the next day —and it's just to access a benefit at the federation or come to deal with something. We are trying to look at ways to minimise cost and take the federation to the people on the ground. While our head office is in Kingston we must decentralise the function of the federation,” the JPF chairperson said.

She added: “We plan to do an audit on the deplorable conditions of police stations. There are still instances and areas that need urgent attention. We still have members using ancient types of restroom and we don't want that any more — so we intend to carry out an audit, look at the structures and make our submissions to the MNS.”

McBean also intends to ramp up training and development in foreign languages for rank and file members.

“I once did a course in Spanish which had three tiers — beginners, intermediary and advanced. Look at our space; we have people from Spanish- speaking countries around us. There sis the Chinese and we already have Mandarin courses going on actively at the staff college. My aim is to ramp up these activities and be well on our way to having a bilingual and multilingual police service,” she said.


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