Use COIN tactics for crime-fighting
Demonstrators drive past a burning barricade set up by the police who are protesting bad police governance in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, January 26, 2023. A wave of grisly killings of police officers by gangs has spurred outrage and protests by Haitians. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

A state comes to power not through its people, but with the monopoly over violence, regardless if it is a democracy or dictatorship.

Democracy allows the people to choose who wields the power, but the fundamentals of a state and its monopoly on violence is the same, whether it is a democracy or dictatorship.

A failed state is when the Government no longer has that monopoly on violence but has to compete with several others. Take for example, Haiti, where the G9 Family gang federation terrorises the streets in the face of a destabilised Government. Or Somalia, where multiple warlords have more power than the central government.

The key to retaining stability within a state is to keep the monopoly over violence, which is making sure that the military and police force is strong and the justice system efficient. If not, and illegal guns can flow into the country, then you'll find other would-be "dons" and "warlords" controlling vast sections of communities that the central government is supposed to control.

When the prime minister, addressing a question about Maroon sovereignty, states that the "only government on this island is the Government of Jamaica and not one square inch of this island will be under any other", it should expand to criminals that create their own fiefdoms in garrison communities, which is why normal policing will not work.

With these criminals, it is necessary to use counter insurgency tactics, or COIN.

For a successful counter insurgency, not only the capture or death of the criminals will suffice, but to make an environment that is toxic and expensive for crime and subversive activities. This is why states of emergency (SOEs) are not long-term solutions, because what happens is that after the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) leaves an area at the end of the SOE, the socio-economic and sociopolitical environment remains the same, allowing criminals to spring up from the same spot again, and the police and soldiers have to go back to the same place again. Making crime expensive does not simply mean raising the sentences, as you can even have the death penalty for illegal firearms, murder, etc, but if the criminals aren't caught they would not care about the threat of death.

By making crime expensive, I mean making day-to-day costs rise. Starve the criminals of the ability to use the black markets to make money and buy guns by spending on more fixed wing and rotary wing maritime patrol aircraft and patrol boats for the JDF Air Wing and Coast Guard to make sure that guns and drugs never reach the shores to begin with, which would make the cost of guns and bullets for criminals expensive and result in the criminals finding it harder to resist the JCF and JDF, rather than if they were well supplied with military grade weapons.

Make sure to increase the use of technology by the police to fight crime and enter communities to not only root out criminals but gather information on the sociopolitical landscape and the who's who of the communities, as not all garrison communities are the same, which would make information gathering easier. It would also help if there were civil groups that go in with the soldiers and police to roll out certain social development programmes and improve the community. Zones of special operations (ZOSOs)have that social aspect so those should be used more than SOEs, which is more of an emergency tool rather than an everyday crime-fighting tool.

The key to a successful COIN is to also win the hearts and minds of the people so that they cooperate with the JDF and JCF in crime elimination and prevention. That cannot work if they cannot trust the government (see Don Anderson polls) and their community is plagued by criminals who would certainly kill witnesses should they testify. For people to provide evidence willingly you have to ensure an environment in which they are protected by the armed forces, not just simply feel protected, and are free to go on their everyday business without fear of being killed, which requires boots on the ground.

And, for the Government which wants to gain the trust of the people to render our counter insurgency against the criminals successful, it must clean up its own act by implementing reforms to fight against corruption and executive-legislative power misuse, and set impeachment proceedings and reform the judicial system, but mostly fight corruption within the body politic, as the same corruption that sees the misappropriation of funds is the same corruption that allows illegal contraband to enter the country through our ports, financing and arming criminals to the point that they threaten the monopoly of power.


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