PCOA didn't accuse the policeTuesday, November 30, 2021
While we appreciated your newspaper's coverage of our awards ceremony for Transforming Our Police Service (TOPS) Competition for Area 4, the article by your reporter Jason Cross, entitled 'Police failing basic functions, says PCOA boss' published Friday, November 26, was grossly misleading, inaccurate and negated the very essence of hosting the event.
At the outset of the article there was a deliberate juxtaposition between our awards ceremony on November 25 with the Supreme Court case with the Jamaica Police Federation. Both were separate events with the Police Civilian Oversight Authority's awards ceremony for TOPS Competition being an established event, recognised by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) as a part of its annual activities for Police Week.
This was unfortunate, as the speech delivered by the PCOA CEO Otarah Byfield-Nugent's outlined, through several examples, the correlation between proper administration of administrative processes with the overall success and transformation of the JCF, was framed by the article as an accusation against the JCF.
In fact, Byfield-Nugent's address spoke generally about the different processes administered at the stations and how proper maintenance and record-keeping could be used to improve performance overall. Her statements did not accuse the police of failing. Instead, she proffered a plethora of solutions, which are easily implemented and beneficial to all stakeholders in all areas of work.
We want to state unequivocally how highly we value the hard work and sacrifice of members of the JCF and it was on that basis that the TOPS programme was designed to highlight and celebrate the success and achievement of stations and divisions across the JCF.
Developed in 2019, the Transforming Our Police Service programme is aimed at fostering greater conformance with prescribed JCF policies as well as raising the morale of members of the JCF. The programme also facilitates a broader objective of the PCOA to enhance the culture of policing in the community, through professionalism and police partnerships built on openness, trust and accountability.
Therefore, while we are aware of editorial freedom, we would have appreciated your reporter highlighting the winners of the TOPS Area 4 Competition in recognition of the spirit of the event and within the context of Police Week, which recognises the hard work and sacrifice of our police force. Instead, the article made no mention of the winners or the objectives of the event.
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all Area 4 winners: Bull Bay Station (Top Station in Area 4); Denham Town Station (Top Prisoners in Custody Station); and Kingston Eastern Division (Top Division and Top Customer Service Division).
Top stations in each division: Allman Town (Kingston Central Division); Denham Town (Kingston Western); Olympic Gardens (St Andrew South Division) and Mona Police Post (St Andrew Central Division). The inaugural “Dr the Hon Marshall Hall Award” for the most improved division in the TOPS Area 5 2020 re-inspection was presented to the St Catherine North Division.
We thank you for the interest in the work we do and look forward to continued engagement going forward.
Members of the Police Civilian Oversight Authority