Sick-out hampering police operations islandwide

Sick-out hampering police operations islandwide

Thursday, December 28, 2017

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THE ongoing sick-out by rank-and-file members of the constabulary has hampered the operations of the police divisions islandwide.

“We are putting out less patrols, and there is longer response time to citizens' calls as we have less resources to respond to calls,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Norman Heywood, head of Police Area 2, told the Jamaica Observer.

Area 2 comprises the parishes of St Ann, St Mary and Portland.

“There's even a longer time for response to criminal investigations to collect statements because the CIB (Criminal Investigation Branch) has been hard hit by the sick-out. There are less police on the street, also in terms of patrols, both mobile and foot patrol,” ACP Heywood said.

ACP Heywood, who declined to divulge the number of officers who called in sick, said the action has taken a toll on policemen and women who turn up for work. “Those remaining on the job have to be working in excess of 24 and sometimes up to 48 hours because the relief sometimes doesn't come,” he said.

“We are getting assistance from the justices of the peace in some areas. They visit the station and assist the station guard in advising citizens. One of their jobs is to assist the police in certain areas and they have really been coming out,” said the assistant commissioner.

At the same time, ACP Heywood is relieved that criminals have not attempted to capitalise on the sick-out. “We have not seen any increase in crime over the holiday season. This area has been relatively low on serious crimes even before the sick-out.”

St Catherine North, with headquarters in Spanish Town, has also been adversely affected by the sick-out.

“It has impacted our ability to serve efficiently, but we are still able to do the work. We are making the best efforts to serve the public as best as possible. We are short in numbers, but using the resources available. Members of the public have been cooperative,” Senior Superintendent Beau Rigabie told the Observer.

In Area 5, Assistant Commissioner Clifford Chambers told the Observer that, inspectors, district constables, superintendents, deputy superintendents, and justices of the peace have helped to get the work done, given the shortage of staff.

Members of the Jamaica Police Federation have rejected the six per cent salary increase offered by Government. Subsequently, the officers decided to stay off the job to protest against the offer.

— Falon Folkes

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