New police recruits welcomed at 'critical time'Friday, March 06, 2020
BY SHANAE STEWART
MINISTER of National Security Horace Chang yesterday welcomed 332 new police recruits to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) at what he said was a “critical time” for the institution. The Passing Out Parade Ceremony was held at Twickenham Park, St Catherine.
“Today, you are being formally inducted into the annals of one of Jamaica's most long-standing, tried and tested institutions. The JCF is Jamaica's premier law enforcement authority. You should be proud to be named among the elite men and women who are charged with maintaining and enforcing the laws of our country,” Chang said.
“You have joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force at a critical time in the institution's history. The force is under pressure as a result of the increased demand caused by high levels of public disorder, escalation in homicide rates, and criminal gang activities. At the same time, the force is undergoing significant internal restructuring in order to improve the efficiency, morale, and professionalism of our officers.
“So, you have come on-board at a time of transformation and new opportunities within the JCF. We are creating a new culture of policing in Jamaica,” he noted.
He added that in order to enhance and make the JCF a force for good, several initiatives have already begun, including the police commissioner's “ambitious institutional restructuring [which covers] the operationalisation of highly skilled and specially trained special operations teams such as the quick response motorbike teams that operate in urban centres.”
There has also been a reorganisation, Chang noted, of the Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau (IPROB) which “is now under directorship of some of our finest men and women who are setting standards of ethics and professionalism for the entire force”.
Other changes, he added, include the development of a “strong” police welfare office to safeguard the interests of JCF members; plans to expand the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch in order to restore public order on roadways and across the breadth of the island; along with an ongoing “reorganisation of the geographical divisions”. The conclusion of this work will ensure added efficiency of police operations and increased effectiveness in police communication, he explained.
“Many of you would have learnt of the work being done to improve the physical infrastructure of the police stations. We are redesigning [them] to be modern, well-equipped, working offices. The intention is to increase staff morale, and give confidence to the general public,” the national security minister stressed.
This, he said, would be complemented by an investment in the use of modern technology and forensic science to support the work of officers, and improve efficiency in solving crimes.
“By utilising technology and science as a force multiplier, we will enhance your capacity to identify and apprehend criminals with irrefutable evidence that will lead to convictions. Police stations will be connected by fibre, LTE, and microwave. You will have computers, CCTV support, and modern station diaries. The 'old big book' station diaries will be done away with,” he promised.
He also told graduates that a key aspect of the technological changes is the non-lethal tools they will receive as part of a new tool kit for effective 21st century policing.
This will include a multi-purpose hand-held device that can write and print traffic tickets, and communicate clearly on the Constabulary Force's radio system from anywhere across the island.
With this device, officers will be equipped to run licence plate numbers and verify photo identification.
“All this will be at your fingertips, while you are on duty on the road. This will undoubtedly improve your efficiency and capacity to deal with law breakers. We are investing in equipping you (officers) of the JCF, for effective service,” said Chang.
He added, “This season of change is your opportunity to inform the new JCF with true Jamaican characteristics. You will be able to accomplish this through respect for your fellow Jamaicans, by prioritising public safety, and making citizens feel safe in their communities. Through your efforts, we will restore law and order in Jamaica and create an even stronger foundation for sustainable development.
“Graduates, as you join the ranks of the men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force – the most valuable asset in our security arsenal – I commend your commitment to serve and protect Jamaican lives, communities, businesses and families,” Chang said.
The newest members of the JCF were initially expected to graduate last December but, according to the police high command, needed to remain deployed “due to the realities of violence and crime facing the country, coupled with the challenges to law and order in our main urban centres”.