Membership of JCF heading to 13,000, says commissioner
ANDERSON... I expect to lose about 400 officers a year to retirement, resignation and to migration

MANDEVILLE, Manchester – Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson says that although the attrition of the police force is approximately 400 yearly the constabulary is moving swiftly to increase its membership to 13,000.

"I expect to lose about 400 officers a year to retirement, resignation and to migration – a big one. All it tells me is I have to recruit and train to replace the 400 plus what I need to grow the force; hence with 1,200 [recruits], I am netting 800 a year. We have for the first time crossed the 12,000 [mark] and we're heading rapidly to 13,000 officers," Anderson told his audience at a police town hall meeting in Mandeville on Thursday.

The town hall followed meetings between the commissioner, head of the Manchester police Superintendent Shane McCalla, members of the Manchester division and business leaders in Mandeville.

Anderson said 25 new members were last Sunday assigned to the Manchester Division.

"As you can imagine, we are spreading this around throughout the entire force and into various areas. But a commander like him [Superintendent McCalla] would previously have gotten seven officers, five officers, eight officers, I can give him 25, and he of course, as soon as he gets to 25, he says 'when the next 25 coming'," said the commissioner.

He said despite an increase in recruits over the past two fiscal years there are still human resource challenges facing divisional commanders.

"We look at two things. One is their [the commander's] needs, but also how efficiently they use what they have, but even if they're using it efficiently the needs exceed what they have largely and this has been a challenge with the force for a while. For those who pay attention to this type of thing over time, it's been mooted that we need to grow the force. We need to recruit more people and get more people into the force," said Anderson.

Meanwhile the commissioner, in addressing concerns about the crime upsurge in Manchester, reiterated that the resources in the south-central parish have been bolstered.

He added that members of the Manchester Division were in the meantime being trained to establish a quick response team.

"They are very specifically trained to deal with violent or possibly violent confrontations. There is one [team] here now in Manchester; it is a borrowed one... because we are now carrying officers from Manchester through the training process to deliver that skill set when they return to Manchester," said Anderson.

"In the meantime, based on what was happening here, I sent a team from Kingston out here to support the Manchester Division. We have some assets, what you would call central and national assets, in terms of our policing responses, and of course we work with the Jamaica Defence Force, as well. We apply these assets when and where it is required to get the desired response, so as soon as we see something flaring, we apply this to it," added the commissioner.

BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter

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