Commissioner on a quest to increase technology available to Jamaica's copsSunday, November 17, 2019
BY ARTHUR HALL
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson is determined to pull the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) into the age of technology and he has already started to reap the rewards.
Through an increase in the use of cyber forensics, ballistics, and DNA evidence to strengthen its investigative processes, the JCF has secured a number of convictions of gangsters but Anderson is not done yet.
“We are advancing technologically in an unprecedented way. We have done an analysis of our technological needs and we have a series of technological projects that are in train at the moment,” Anderson told the Jamaica Observer in an exclusive interview last week.
“Some have been completed and certainly by the end of next year, we will be technologically at a significant different place than we have been. We essentially have more technology projects going on now than in the last 20 years,” added Anderson as he noted that this is being driven by a new Technology Branch.
“The direction of it, the strategic decisions around it, are made by the Technology Steering Committee, which is a new body in the force, which I chair myself. One of the challenges in introducing technology is when it is not driven from the top people start to make their own decisions on whether they should embrace it,” said Anderson.
Among the changes being implemented is a revamp of the JCF's microwave network which carries data.
According to Anderson the microwave network now has five times the capacity that it had as part of a bid to ensure that all police stations are connected.
“Our timeline on it is the second quarter of next year we run the pilot and three months later we roll it out so that by the end of next year, certainly all divisions will be on a platform that we call a Station's Management System,” said Anderson.
With the improved microwave network, the JCF will finally be able to do away with the archaic police station diaries known as “big books” and replace them with electronic diaries.
“What this means is that once a report is made a receipt will be generated from that report once you press enter, and the report will become accessible to everybody who will need to see it from the point of input,” said Anderson as he underscored that this should be in place within a year to a year-and-a-half.
The commissioner further noted that the JCF's radio network, which had seen some deterioration over time, is being redone and improved.
“So that the areas which are now 'dead spots' (where the radios do not work) we will be covering those so that our officers can actually know what is going on. One of the challenges has been the antennas that we have around the country and those replacements start in January,” said Anderson.
He added that the JCF will also be implementing a vehicle tracking system which should be in place by the first quarter of next year.
Anderson also pointed out that the JCF is to implement a system where people can go online and make reports of incidents from wherever they are.
'There are some things that you will need to come to the station but for other things it could be much easier for you to just go online, submit your report and if we need to contact you further then we can do that. And at the stations there will be a kiosk where you can enter your own data and we check it and so on,” said Anderson as he noted that the timeline for this is the third quarter of next year.
Body cameras and dashboard cameras are also part of the technology changes which Anderson is planning to introduce. But Anderson said the dash cameras will take a little longer than the other changes.
“I tell you that because we don't have, at this point, a specific timeline programmed. If you speak to me perhaps in the early part of next year, I will be able to give you a timeline on that. I don't want to speak about anything that I am not clear on.
“But in the first quarter of next year we will be deploying body-cams. It will not be everyone in one go. Clearly we are going to be rolling out in phases. The various suppliers of this have come and demonstrated the different systems but there is money for it,” said Anderson.
“Everything that I am telling you is not any long term. Every single thing is within a two-year window. All this technology that we have been speaking about for years, we are moving aggressively to do it,” Anderson added.
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