News

More care for cops

Commissioner focusing on welfare matters for members of the JCF

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

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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The leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has embarked on a programme to improve the working conditions of its rank and file members.

In an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer last week Police Commissioner Major General Antony pointed to the recently established Welfare Department, which operates out of his office, as proof of his commitment to provide more comfort for the men and women under his command.

Assistant Superintendent Raymond Wilson, who once headed the Police Federation, which represents rank and file members of the force, has been assigned to head the Welfare Department and Anderson said it is already proving beneficial to the force.

“We deal with about 15 to 20 medical cases each week. We have dealt with cases that have languished for up to five years, eight years, and we are actually getting resolutions to these things. When matters came up around benefits that people should have received, and didn't get, we moved out rapidly to resolve those issues,” said Anderson.

According to the commissioner, the leadership of the force has also taken responsibility for the medical care of its members injured in the line of duty to the point of moving them overseas if the necessary treatment is not available locally.

“One of the things that was problematic for me on coming here [to the JCF] was when I was visiting one of our officers in hospital who had just been shot. He had a prescription for some pins because he had a broken limb, and he said to me that he had this prescription and he was waiting on the federation to handle it. But that is not a federation responsibility.

“If we sent an officer in harm's way then we are obligated to take care of that officer if he is injured, absolutely obligated, not the federation, the leadership. The same people who are sending them out are the same people who have the responsibility to take care of them,” declared Anderson.

He said the working conditions of the cops were also being addressed, with more than 100 police stations refurbished.

“There has been an unprecedented thrust to make police working conditions better. I went into St Mary in September and they said there are only two stations left to be done. In a number of divisions the work is going on.

“These are things long spoken about, these are things happening now. We are not talking about any long term like five years, we don't have the luxury of time,” said Anderson, as he noted that the JCF has 21 technology projects taking place at the same time that it is doing the refurbishing of stations and some construction projects that are lined up to be done.

Anderson said these constructions projects were at different stages and include the Westmoreland Divisional headquarters in Savanna-la-Mar, where detectives attached to the Criminal Investigation Branch operate from a verandah.

“That has been approved so we are going to do construction on Sav-la-Mar, Port Maria, Spanish Town, we have just got approvals around that and we are looking at constructing a new divisional headquarters in Spanish Town,” said Anderson.

Recently Anderson handed over eight buses to the Federation as part of efforts to ensure that rank and file members travel to and from work in greater safety and comfort.

At that time Anderson said the buses, which were bought by the Government, was in keeping with the JCF's welfare programme for members.

He declared that the objective was to ensure the well-being of the police as they work to keep the country safe.


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