Send DCs back to their communities, says Val Wint
CHRISTIANA, Manchester — The People's National Party (PNP) caretaker for north east Manchester Val Wint is urging the authorities to reassign district constables (DCs) to active duty in their communities as part of crime fighting strategies.
Wint, a businessman, told the Jamaica Observer Central that efforts to "renovate and restructure" the police force, including the upcoming merger of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Island Special Constabulary, were worthy of applause.
However, he said, "with respect to the high incidence of domestic violence and crimes committed in the communities I would love to see a redeployment of district constables to their respective communities".
He noted that when district constables (DCs) were first deployed "many decades ago" their role was to stay in their communities and support the regular police.
"Today we see many of these district constables placed as station guards in the police station, as traffic cops on the road, we see people playing the role of detective...," said Wint.
"I do believe that the communities would be better served if they (district constables) return as that arm of the police in these districts," said Wint, who lost to former finance minister and current Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) shadow spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw in the December 2011 parliamentary elections.
He envisioned district constables becoming "instrumental" in community groups and programmes as part of their duties.
Wint argued that district constables' knowledge and awareness of their communities and their neighbours would lead to reduce incidence of domestic violence and other crimes such as farm theft.
To emphasise his point, Wint told of a recent conversation with a police officer in charge of rural police station.
"There was no money to buy gas for the patrol car so the police officer asked the district constables to remain in their communities and do patrols. For that entire week there was not one incident of praedial larceny, they never got the many calls they use to get about loud noises and there were no robberies reported," he said.
"The fact is that if the DC is in the district he will be able to identify suspicious characters, that ability to liase between community and the police force is something that I believe would benefit communities," he said.