Deputy PM says Government will equip police force to effectively perform duties
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, says the Government remains committed to adequately equipping the police force with resources to effectively carry out its duties.
Responding to questions at a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, on November 15 regarding a report from the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) about the use of body-worn cameras by members of the security forces, Dr Chang informed that more than 3,000 printers and digital instruments have been ordered for the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) to deal with traffic management.
He said additional body-worn cameras are among the equipment to be purchased for members of the security force.
“Body-worn cameras are among the many resources we have to acquire, and it will be put on the list, but there are priorities; we have to acquire ballistic vests, ballistic helmets and motor vehicles. In fact, the surveys suggest that the most reassuring presence of the police in the community is patrols,” Dr Chang said.
“In the process of patrol vehicles to be effective, I have to ensure there is effective communication and that we are acquiring not only police radios but developing the entire network of communication. I have to provide the police with places to work from, which means fixing police stations, and the Government undertook all of these events and continues to do so. Body-worn cameras are one of those elements and is part of what we will do,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Chang said the police in recent times have demonstrated a level of professionalism that is commendable.
“If evidence can be demonstrated that there is a great emergency because policemen are acting abusively, then we may have to move faster, but there is no such evidence. I think there is no question that the operations of the police force in recent times have demonstrated a level of professionalism that is commendable in all aspects of the operations,” he said.
“It is a force we have expanded from under 11,000 to near 14,000 and, therefore, there will be the odd case of unprofessional behaviour as happens in every field. What I see coming out is that there is increased professionalism by the police force across the country,” the Minister continued.
Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information Robert Morgan, said 87 per cent of cases investigated by INDECOM indicated that there was not sufficient evidence to support any charge or recommendation for disciplinary action.
“The INDECOM did reveal that they investigated 412 cases against the police and 87 per cent of them did not have sufficient evidence to support any charge or to support a recommendation for disciplinary action. So, we have to view, in context, reports that seem [that] officers are functioning in a willy-nilly manner,” he said.